(On TV, February 2019) We should never underestimate the impact of a great movie poster, because the one for Love and Basketball stuck with me long enough to get me to record and watch the movie nineteen years later. Fortunately, it’s not a movie solely defined by its poster: As the title aptly summarizes, this is a romantic comedy focusing on a basketball-playing couple, each with professional ambitions that run against their obvious attraction to each other. Romantic comedies are often best distinguished by their setting, and the focus on basketball works equally well at creating kinetic excitement as it does as a literalized metaphor. Playing with a four-quarter structure, Love and Basketball follows our protagonists over a seventeen-year period, as they go from backyard hoops to professional play, always threatening to come together until the very end. It’s quite enjoyable purely on its own merits, but as the film ages it also becomes a pretty good time capsule for some great turn-of-the-century actors: After all, where else can you watch Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Haysbert, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall and a quick glimpse at Tyra Banks? Love and Basketball is a clever movie from writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood: It’s not meant to be particularly surprising or challenging (it climaxes right where it should—on the basketball court), but it has quite a bit of heart, and an interesting frame over familiar, relatable material.