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Movie review: 'Touchback' tries too hard

Published April 12, 2012 3:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"Touchback" is a little football movie that tries really hard … and doesn't quite succeed.

It tries to do too many things and doesn't do any of them particularly well. So moviegoers are left with a mash-up of "Peggy Sue Got Married," "Friday Night Lights" and "It's a Wonderful Life."

Which is just as awkward as it sounds.

"Touchback" opens in 1991 as tiny Coldwater High School is on the verge of winning the Ohio state football championship. QB Scott Murphy wins the game but suffers a horrific injury. Flash forward to 2011, and Scott is suffering setback after setback.

Even his suicide attempt goes awry. Scott wakes up back in 1991 and is determined to change his fate. But his mother (Christine Lahti), his coach (Kurt Russell) and his future wife (Melanie Lynskey) all want him to understand good ol' small-town values.

"Touchback" has some humor, some romance and some football. It's also got some weird anachronisms, like the 1990s teenagers (unconvincingly played by 30-somethings) wearing 1970s glasses, going to a 1950s diner and playing football on 21st-century turf.

It tries hard to be uplifting — you're almost waiting for a bell to ring so you know an angel got his wings — but ends up just sort of awkward.

It's too bad, but "Touchback" fails to score.

movies@sltrib.com; nowsaltlake.com/movies —

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'Touchback'

This football movie tries to do too many things and does none of them particularly well.

Opens Friday, April 13, at area theaters; rated PG-13 for some mature thematic elements; 118 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.