review for Cool Runnings on AllMovie

Cool Runnings (1993)
by Karl Williams review

Cool Runnings is a likable sports comedy that manages the unusual task of being both heavily cliched and highly offbeat. In terms of storytelling and structure, director Jon Turteltaub relies on tried-and-true cinematic sports conceits: underdog athletes, not taken seriously, become worthy competitors due to heart, grit, and determination, egged on by a coach in whom nobody believes anymore. It's been done to death, but Turteltaub understands that the formula works, just as it did in Rocky (1976), The Bad News Bears (1976), The Natural (1984) , and any one of two dozen other sports films. What sets the film apart is its sly self-awareness. The casting of the absurdly out of shape John Candy as the team's ex-champion-athlete coach, and the characters' goofball names (two teammates are Sanka Coffie and Yul Brenner) are just two examples of the film's wickedly juvenile, joyous sense of humor. The proceedings are handled with just such a delicately funny touch, the film's intentions not to be taken seriously made so clear that Cool Runnings (1993) becomes an instantly enjoyable confabulation.