WARNING: The following contains SPOILERS for White Men Can’t Jump

The new Jack Harlow-led White Men Can’t Jump remake changes several key aspects of the original movie. The new movie stars Harlow and Sinqua Walls as two trash-talking basketball players that team up to play in a Los Angeles tournament for a prize of $500,000. While several moments are replicated from the original 1992 basketball comedy starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, the White Men Can’t Jump remake is a very different movie in many regards.

After the movie premiered on Hulu on May 19th, early critic reviews expressed mostly disappointment and frustration with the new remake. The reasons why the White Men Can’t Jump remake’s reviews are bad have much to do with the common criticism that it’s an unnecessary reboot since the original movie still holds up well today. Despite this, the new White Men Can’t Jump makes modest improvements to the aesthetic qualities of the film and reaches new emotional depth in its protagonists.



10 The White Men Can’t Jump Remake Changes The Protagonists’ Names

White Men Can't Jump movie Wesley Snipes Woody Harrilson

In the original movie, Harrelson plays hooper Billy Hoyle, while Snipes’ character is named Sidney Deane. The remake changes the names of its protagonists to Kamal and Jeremy, played by Walls and Harlow, respectively. Kamal and Jeremy are meant to reflect Sidney and Billy, but they seem to be loosely inspired by the original characters instead of bringing them back to life. The parallels are evident in moments of the remake but infrequent enough to cause uncertainty.

9 Kamal & Jeremy Are Both Top Basketball Prospects

white men can't jump review

Jeremy and Kamal both have very serious opportunities to play professional basketball before they meet in the White Men Can’t Jump remake. Kamal was once the top high school basketball player in the country and likely would have made it to the NBA if he could have controlled his volatile emotions. Jeremy played Division 1 basketball at Gonzaga University before tearing both of his ACLs, effectively ending his career. Neither of the original movie’s protagonists had ever gotten to that high level of their basketball careers.

8 Jeremy Struggles With An Addiction To Painkillers

Jack Harlow in White Men Can't Jump Remake

Jeremy is haunted by his career-ending injuries and is desperate to do anything that would get him back to full health. He tells his girlfriend Tatiana (Laura Harrier) about stem cells and justifies his frequent use of painkillers so that he can continue to play pick-up basketball. In the original White Men Can’t Jump, Billy doesn’t have any problems with drugs or addiction other than gambling on basketball games, which is something he and Harlow’s character have in common. Jeremy’s frequent injuries in the remake are also dissimilar to Billy in the original.

7 Kamal’s Dad Isn’t A Character In The Original White Men Can’t Jump

Lance Reddick smiling in White Men Can't Jump

Kamal’s dad Benji, played by Lance Reddick as part of the ensemble cast of the White Men Can’t Jump remake, is a brand-new character. There is no mention of Sidney’s father in the original movie at all. In the remake, Benji significantly influences Kamal’s entire story. Benji demonstrates how Kamal was coached during his upbringing and how he and his father shared a mutual love for the game. His relationship with Benji adds a layer of humility and depth to Kamal’s character that Sidney’s character doesn’t attempt to access in the original.

6 The White Men Can’t Jump Remake Has Fewer Basketball Action Scenes

White Men Can't Jump movie

A big difference between the remake and the original White Men Can’t Jump is the lack of fun basketball scenes in the newer version. A large portion of the original movie takes plays on a basketball court and features Snipes and Harrelson balling out on the courts. Most of the on-court action in the remake is limited to the film’s third act and doesn’t have much strategy or exciting choreography. The fun basketball scenes serve as some of the most entertaining moments in the original. The choice to include fewer of those scenes is a major contributing factor to why the White Men Can’t Jump remake pales in comparison.

5 Jeremy Is In Debt To A Gym Manager, Not Mobsters

white men can't jump 2023

Both Jeremy and Billy are in heavy debt in each movie and constantly avoid paying their dues. In the original White Men Can’t Jump, Billy is on the run from two dangerous mobsters who chase him down throughout Los Angeles to collect their debt. Billy is able to evade them for the most part, similar to how Jeremy consistently evades paying his drug dealer (Andrew Schulz) and his gym manager. Jeremy’s debt to several people in his everyday life is more realistic but less exciting than the mobsters who eventually confront Billy at gunpoint.

4 Jack Harlow’s Movie Leaves Out White Men Can’t Jump’s Bizarre Jeopardy Scene

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in White Men Can't Jump

In the original White Men Can’t Jump, Billy’s girlfriend Gloria (Rosie Perez) appears on the game show Jeopardy!. This provides a funny yet bizarre sequence that ultimately feels completely out of place amidst the on-court action. The remake is wise to avoid that scene altogether, as Jeopardy! is not nearly as culturally relevant today as it was in the 1990s. Leaving out the Jeopardy! scene is one of the best changes that the creators of the White Men Can’t Jump remake made.

3 The Final Tournament Is Played On A Much Bigger Stage In The In White Men Can’t Jump Remake

Kamal Allen's family getting ready to play basketball in White Men Can't Jump

The White Men Can’t Jump remake scales up several elements of the original movie, specifically its final basketball tournament. The tournament’s prize money is significantly greater, almost comically so, and the court features hundreds of fans and even a DJ. The bigger stage in the remake, while overdone, contributes to the overall stakes of the championship game but also detracts from the original movie’s portrayal of street basketball by appearing expensive and overly polished.

2 Kamal Makes It To The NBA At The End Of The In White Men Can’t Jump Remake

Sinqua Walls smiling at a basketball game in White Men Can't Jump.

By White Men Can’t Jump’s ending, Kamal and Jeremy win the championship, and Kamal makes it to the NBA just one year later. Kamal is able to play overseas in China following the success of the Los Angeles basketball tournament, where he gains instant success and fame as a professional player. He’s hired to play for the G-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers until he finally gets a call from the big leagues, signing him on a 10-day contract. Neither Sidney nor Billy are considered by the NBA in the original White Men Can’t Jump.

1 Jeremy Becomes A Professional & Mindful Athletic Coach

Jack Harlow meditating in White Men Can't Jump

Kamal gains a spot on an NBA roster, and Jeremy is right there next to him as a professional mindfulness coach for athletes. He works with NBA player Tyler Herro on his anger management issues by teaching him the same breathing techniques he taught Kamal. In the original White Men Can’t Jump, Sidney also helps get Billy a job at the end, but it is nothing nearly as remarkable as working with NBA players. While there are some clear inspirations and similarities between the two movies, the White Men Can’t Jump remake changes many aspects of the original, perhaps more than it should have.

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