The Reel Review


Longtime best friends and colleagues Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting) reunite in the story of basketball obsessed Nike salesman Sonny Vaccaro, who in 1984 convinced his CEO to take a chance on just one player – then newcomer Michael Jordan – to sign an exclusive marketing partnership. Their big gamble would result in the iconic Air Jordan sneaker just as Jordan would become the world’s greatest basketball player.

Matthew Maher, Matt Damon and Jason Bateman in Air

Even if you don’t know much about basketball – or sneakers – you will likely still enjoy this infectious, uplifting tale of determination, creativity and moxie, as Damon channels his inner salesman to director Affleck’s mercurial, often-barefoot Nike CEO Phil Knight. There is a mind-spinning array of 80s cultural references and a score loaded with fun 80s tunes. Viola Davis is – no surprise – spectacular as Jordan’s wheeling-dealing mother, Deloris, as is Chris Messina as Jordan’s scene-stealing, foul-mouthed agent.

Director Ben Affleck as Nike CEO Phil Knight in Air

The movie’s fun, can-do spirit and a clever screenplay from Alex Convery helps breathe life into an already familiar story, that with its conference room meetings and production labs, in less capable hands easily could have been a desert-dry snoozefest. Instead, Affleck gives his buddy Damon a scene-stealing monologue when trying to seal the deal with Jordan that will leave a big smile on your face.


• Ben Affleck conferred with Michael Jordan on how to best portray the story – Jordan’s only two requests were that Viola Davis play his mother and that his longtime friend Howard White (Chris Tucker) be included in the film.

• Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, who play Michael Jordan’s parents in Air, are married in real life.

• Despite being antagonistic toward Sonny Vaccaro in this film, in reality agent David Falk (Chris Messina) was the one who convinced Michael Jordan to accept the meeting with Nike.

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