Review: ‘Most Valuable Players’

Pic offers both too little and too much to engage a wide audience.

An argument for arts in schools, “Most Valuable Players” ventures into football-crazy Lehigh Valley, Pa., to track three high school musicals and their route to the TV-broadcast Freddy Awards (named for a ghost that haunts the State Theater at Easton). Those who go to a Lehigh Valley school, have a child in a Lehigh Valley school or really like “Les Miserables” will eat this up. Otherwise, this DocuWeeks selection offers both too little and too much (in terms of productions and characters) to engage a wider audience.

Helmer Matthew D. Kallis has made a happy movie, and Randy Miller’s music adds to the chirpiness, which is somewhat dampened when the three schools in question all choose “Les Mis” as their spring production. Fortunately, one of the schools gets its Freddy noms for an earlier “Bye Bye Birdie,” so there’s some variety. Still, it’s a lot to keep straight, despite the kids’ talent and the film’s very potent argument about sports-funding priorities and the value of arts education. It does seem odd, however, that each time a student wins a Freddy, they act like they’ve just scored a touchdown.

Most Valuable Players

Production

A Canyonback Films presentation. Produced by Matthew D. Kallis, Christopher Lockhart. Directed by Matthew D. Kallis. Written by Christopher Lockhart.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Curt Apduhan; editor, Zack Braff; music, Randy Miller. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Aug. 3, 2010. (In DocuWeeks.) Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Vic Kumma, Andy Truscott, John Andreadis, Zachary Gibson, Amanda Kostalis, Ali Mosser, Katie Wexler, Rita Cortez, Shelley Brown.
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