'Endgame' plays like an after-school special

 
 
Updated 10/8/2015 10:49 AM
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Fans of "Modern Family" TV star Rico Rodriguez (he plays young Manny) might be tempted to check out his starring role in the comic high school chess drama "Endgame."

His character, a Texas middle school student named Jose Perez, is beset with age-appropriate issues involving a doting mother (on her other son) and adolescent insecurities. Fortunately, he proves to be very good at playing chess, and that becomes his ticket to self-confidence and accomplishment.

Unfortunately, Rodriguez doesn't have the edgy writers of "Modern Family" to breathe dramatic life into former Chicagoan Carmen Marron's staid but well-intentioned after-school special game movie that's been checkmated by clichés.

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