Like Mike appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. A few too many concerns appeared to make Like Mike an excellent image, but it usually looked quite good.
Sharpness mostly came across as solid. Wide shots tended to be a little fuzzy at times, but those occasionally occurred infrequently. Mainly the movie looked nicely distinct and accurate. Jagged edges and moiré effects created no issues, but I did notice a little light edge enhancement. Some slight artifacting showed up as well, but otherwise, the movie remained clean and fresh, with no problems related to print flaws.
Like Mike featured a bright and lively palette that worked well on the DVD. Colors consistently looked vivid and dynamic, and they demonstrated no concerns of any sort. Instead, they seemed cleanly saturated and brilliant. Black levels appeared deep and rich as well, but shadow detail came across as slightly heavy on a couple of bedtime sequences. Those shots demonstrated mild thickness, but generally the low-light shots appeared appropriately opaque. The majority of Like Mike resided in “A”-level, so despite this mix of small problems, I still felt satisfied with most of the image.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack also worked nicely for the most part. Given the light comedy genre in which the film resides, I found the mix to offer a surprisingly active affair. Actually, it came across as a little too active at times. For example, during one sequence the sound of a bouncing basketball reverberated heavily in the rear channels, and that seemed too over the top; it became a distraction when the mix used the surrounds so intensely.
However, those occasions occurred fairly infrequently, and the mix generally appeared nicely lively and effective. Music demonstrated good stereo imaging, and effects presented a solid setting. Basketball games and outdoor settings provided realistic environments that used all five channels positively and cleanly for the most part. A scooter chase scene at the end of the film offered some smooth and involving use of the different speakers as well.
Audio quality appeared fine. Speech came across as natural and warm, and I noticed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music sounded bright and dynamic, and the occasional rap songs presented tight bass. Effects appeared distinct and accurate, and they also showed deep and rich low-end response. In the end, the soundtrack of Like Mike never excelled at much, but it seemed strong enough on a consistent basis to earn a “B+”.
For this release of Like Mike, we discover a mix of supplements. Most of these appear on one side of the DVD or the other, but the audio commentary appears on both. It features a running, screen-specific chat from director John Schultz plus actors Bow Wow and Jonathan Lipnicki, all of whom were recorded together – mostly. On a few occasions, it included some remarks from Schultz that clearly came from a separate session, but the majority of the material emanated from one gathering.
Really, the commentary came across like two different tracks. That was because Bow split about halfway through the film to “take care of BI”. While he stayed in the room, he and Schultz dominated the piece. Occasionally some information about the making of the film popped up, but mostly the commentary consisted of notes about what the different participants liked, and the director and Bow argued a lot about different elements. Bow often insisted that something was done one way and talked back when Schultz said differently. Frankly, Bow came across as somewhat snotty and full of himself, but he’s a teenager, so that’s to be expected. (I’m still not sure if he consistently called Lipnicki “Murph” because he used the character’s name as a nickname for the actor or if he simply couldn’t remember Jonathan’s real name.)
After Bow left the session, the previously subdued Lipnicki came to life, but the track continued to offer little concrete information. During the first half, we learned a little about pieces like working with the basketball stars and Bow’s “orphan hair” vs. his “NBA hair”, but the second half of the flick failed to present much useful material. Instead, the suddenly chatty Lipnicki largely just narrated the film. Schultz occasionally tried to break in with some data, but he usually seemed content to let Lipnicki ramble. The Like Mike commentary actually appeared more entertaining than it probably sounds, just because the energy of the young actors made it something unusual. However, it didn’t provide much in the way of useful information.
In addition to the commentary, the widescreen side of the disc includes only one supplement: a documentary called Off the Hook and On the Set. It lasts 21 minutes and 40 seconds and provides something a little unusual, as it mostly consists of videotaped footage from the set shot by acting coach Sarah Whalen. Director Schultz and Whalen occasionally narrate the program, and we also get on-set comments from actors Eugene Levy, Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Jonathan Lipnicki, and Robert Forster, producer Peter Heller, bodyguard Darrell “Big D” Davis, second second assistant director Wayne “Spoon” Witherspoon, stunt coordinator Tierre Turner, basketball consultant Reggie Theus, and Bow’s studio teacher Rhonda Sherman Friedman.
”Hook” provides a fairly entertaining glimpse behind the scenes. It progresses through the production in chronological order and touches on topics like rehearsals, acting exercises, turning the Forum into the Knights’ arena, the NBA All-Star weekend, the painting scene, creating the dunking segments for the kids, and other pieces all the way through post-production elements like ADR and scoring. Nothing tremendously revealing appears, but the show gives us a nicely fresh and fun look at the production. My favorite shot? When Schultz asks a cheerleader if she knows what she needs to do in the scene and she replies she does not. His reply: “cheer”.
Over on the fullscreen side of the disc, we get a few more pieces. The Making Of Like Mike offers a six-minute and 13-second featurette that includes the standard mix of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from writer Michael Elliott, producers Peter Heller and Barry Josephson, director John Schultz, basketball consultant Reggie Theus, actors Bow Wow and Morris Chestnut, and basketball figures Jason Kidd, Chris Webber, and Pat Croce. A few moments about the problems caused by the extras offered, but mostly the program simply told us about the greatness that is Bow. Everyone praises him and relates how terrific and talented he is. This gets old quickly, and “Making” offers little to make it worthwhile.
Within the Deleted Scenes area, we find three short segments. Presented non-anamorphic 1.85:1 with Dolby Surround 2.0 audio, these last between 66 seconds and two minutes, 38 seconds for a total of four minutes, 57 seconds of footage. One of these offers additional footage with basketball figures as they discuss their reactions to Calvin, while another shows a cut subplot about a young female TV star Calvin gets to meet. The longest clip simply shows the unedited montage of parents who tried to adopt Calvin. The latter provides some fairly funny material, and all three actually seem surprisingly entertaining given the general blandness of the final film.
One can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from director John Schultz. His remarks cover the basic information appropriate to the material, with a logical emphasis on the reasons why he left out the footage.
A few other small bits round out the DVD. We find the music video for “Basketball” by Bow Wow featuring Jermaine Dupri, Fabolous, and Fundisha. During the three minute, 35 second clip, Bow raps and plays ball while we also see some movie clips – yawn! The DVD also tosses in a 17 second music promoplus the trailer for Daredevil.
Like Mike starts with a clever concept but doesn’t do much with it. Instead, the film follows a pretty predictable line and it never becomes anything more than a pedestrian kiddie comedy. The DVD provides slightly erratic but generally very solid picture and sound with a reasonably good collection of supplements. Fans of the film should enjoy this DVD, but I can’t recommend this lackluster movie to anyone else.