Anyone's Game (originally released as Chicks With Sticks) is a cool hockey movie with a country western backbeat. It, of course, has the underdog versus the better team plotline but it is also about a lot more than that. It is a neat little blend of comedic moments, real life ordinary day to day issues involving a single mom, and stuff about women getting together to achieve a goal and proving the guys wrong. It is a well-made more than just a sports comedy with a very good cast, good writing, and a good story.
Paula Taymore (Jessalyn Gilsing) is a single mom living in a small Alberta town whose dream of making the Canadian Olympic hockey team was dashed by circumstances and this has very much affected her. When the local men's team, the Chiefs, rags Paula about women playing hockey after she helps beat them in a local pick-up game, Paula challenges them to play an all-women's team. Problem is there is no such thing for miles around. Taymore then has to put her money where her mouth is, get a women's team together, and show up for the great game. A particularly funny moment is when the feminist on the team briefly insists on playing left wing and not right wing.
The one weakness in Anyone's Game is there are too many secondary storylines. There is something about Taymore having tried to put a professional women's team together, stuff about the homeless goalie she takes in and some money, something about Paula's son being unhappy for a while, the fact the bet on the game is getting out of hand to the men's team tries to rig its roster with a ringer with the help of Paula's brother, the mood in the town when the men have to sell off stuff to meet their half of the bet, the Jason Priestley stuff, the bet money disappearing, and so on. Now, one of the reasons this movie is entertaining is in part that it is about more than a men versus women hockey challenge but some of the conflicts are hard to follow, not set up well, and you kind of get lost in all of them.
Still, you always want to know how what will happen in the great game so Anyone's Game has enough legs to get you through these minor failings. This is a good little comedy movie though a very mild parental advisory applies if very partial nudity (buttocks,one time, and one eighth of a breast seen from behind) offends.