As generic as a message movie can be, "Remember the Titans" is a stirring and gratifying "true story" which nonetheless plays like it was written by a computer and directed by someone consulting an instruction manual before every take.

Based on the life of the man who coached the first integrated high school football team in Virginia, circa 1971, it's a blatantly manipulative feel-good flick that is a virtual encyclopedia of racial strife clichés, sports clichés and unforgivably shopworn warm-fuzzy moments like the ubiquitous Motown-sing-a-long scene in which characters line dance and croon into hairbrushes or other substitute microphones. There's four -- count 'em four -- such scenes in this picture.

The football games are filmed so uncreatively they might as well be stock footage filched from 100 other forgotten big-screen gridiron yarns. Aside from being distinctively black or white, the ensemble of ballplayers are mostly nondescript, interchangeable broad-shouldered lummoxes from central casting.

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