REVIEW: “Air” scores big with comedic characters and heartfelt storyline

Released on April 5, "Air" tells the story of how Nike acquired then-NBA-rookie Michael Jordan to be the face of Nike's basketball division. Photo credit: Gianna Guirgis

Iconic duo Ben Affleck and Matt Damon reunite for another entertaining film full of basketball, Bruce Springsteen music, comedy and 80s aesthetic.

Released on April 5, “Air” tells the story of how Nike acquired then-NBA-rookie Michael Jordan to be the face of Nike’s basketball division.

With Michael Jordan came the “Air Jordan” sneakers, and the film chronicles the development of the shoes and their rise in popularity.

Damon stars as Sonny Vaccaro, an employee of Nike’s basketball division looking for new basketball players to endorse. Vaccaro insists on acquiring Jordan after watching back his game-winning 3-pointer in the 1982 NCAA Championship game. He says he has “a feeling” about this one.

Vaccaro must convince CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) to use the entire basketball budget, $250,000, and entice Jordan to sign with them over the ever-popular Converse and Adidas who were also adamantly pursuing Jordan at the time.

The film also stars Viola Davis as Jordan’s mother Deloris and Jason Bateman as Nike marketing executive Rob Strasser.

Peter Moore, the original designer of the “Air Jordans” played by Matthew Maher, was a hilarious highlight of the film.

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Affleck makes an interesting directing choice by never showing the face of the actor who plays Michael Jordan. According to a Hollywood Reporter interview, he wanted audience members to enter the movie without having to re-imagine Jordan as the actor portraying him.

Jordan himself insisted that Viola Davis play his mother, a choice that paid off. One New York Times reviewer called the seasoned actor’s performance “sensational” and “beautifully modulated,” noting how Davis gives Deloris a “palpable physical solidity.”

Sophomore film and finance major Joshua Sher saw the film as an all-around enjoyable watch.

“With a killer ensemble of charismatic A-list actors, solid direction and an amazing soundtrack, ‘Air’ is a fun film for everyday moviegoers and an absolute treat for basketball fans,” Sher said.

Check out “Air” in theaters to learn how Nike became the basketball shoe powerhouse we know and love today.

Rating: 4.5/5