Cinema: Requiem for a Quarterback

The most improbable bestseller of 1967 was Paper Lion, in which that professional amateur, George Plimpton, gave a Mittyesque account of his preseason tryout with the Detroit Lions' football team. Now comes an instant replay of Plimpton's adventure, presumably aimed at the millions of armchair quarterbacks who spend every Sunday afternoon in the fall glued to the pro games on TV. As a film, unfortunately, Paper Lion has all the interest of a five-yard penalty; it sadly lacks both the charm and sensitivity of the original.

The first of the film's difficulties is that...