If you haven’t seen First One In yet, O.M.G…
There is much to be said about the VERY competitive world of ladies league tennis, and writer-director and league tennis player, Gina O’Brien serves it up perfectly:
“First One In is a comedy for women, but it isn’t the typical comedy for women. It isn’t about parenting, romance, marriage or girls’ nights in Vegas. I like those, but this is different. It’s about women who challenge themselves away from their everyday lives, on a team with other women.”
“During the day in tennis clubs across America, millions of women gather to hit balls at each other. I’m one of them,” says O’Brien.
Gina O’Brien is one of us… she’s a tennis chick, so she gets us. I absolutely LOVED First One In. It is well-written and directed, and the characters are totally relatable… it’s 98 minutes of unplugged, unadulterated fun!
In a nutshell:
First One In is the story of Madi Cooke, a former high school tennis player who gains infamy as an eco-terrorist when she accidentally kills an endangered animal while on a popular reality TV show. It costs Madi everything… her job, her respect, and her grit.
In an attempt to regain some normalcy in her life (and a regular paycheck), Madi gets a complete makeover from her mom and changes her name, and interviews for a job with Bobbi Mason, an overachieving, tightly wound real estate shark at the #1 real estate firm in Connecticut.
Madi hasn’t played tennis for nearly 20 years, so she returns to the place where she used to train, the Acme Indoor Tennis facility.
There, she joins an ongoing 3.0 ladies clinic with tennis pro, Fernando and his group of hilarious misfits, Jane, Ceecee, Preeti, and Valentina, and renews her strained friendship with her best friend and former high school tennis partner, Ollie.
A day or so later, Bobbi’s very pregnant doubles partner Rosie has her baby and can’t play in an upcoming friendly match between coworkers, so she chooses Madi as her replacement.
Of course, there is the friendly banter when the ladies first meet on the court, but how does Bobbi really feel when asked if serving should be the first one in?
From there, a comedy of unforced errors ensues, and once again, Madi finds herself back on the courts, only this time, her opponents are Bobbi and her minions. And the prize is everything she once lost.
My personal takeaway
As a league player, I can totally relate to this movie. I see bits of myself in many of Gina O’Brien’s characters, and I recognize some of the mannerisms in my teammates and opponents, as well. I think there is a little bit of all of us league women in First One In, and I wholeheartedly invite you to discover them all for yourself! And please share this with your coach/pro, and all of the tennis league women in your life! FYI: It is rated 16+ for potty-mouth hilarity, so view at your own risk, lol!
How to watch
Amazon Prime members can rent the commercial-free version of First One In for $3.99, or purchase it and add it to your video collection for only $10.99. And if you don’t have Amazon Prime yet — you can get a FREE 30-day trial right HERE! Then, you’ll not only be able to watch this movie, but you’ll have access to thousands more! There are tons of great Prime Original series too, and that’s just what you can WATCH! Amazon Prime has TONS of other perks too, like FREE 2-day shipping (sometimes even same-day shipping!) on pretty much everything you can think of to buy!
Of course, if Amazon Prime isn’t for you, you can also stream First One In on iTunes, and watch with commercials on Peacock, Peacock Premium, and Tubi.
About the writer/director
First One In is the feature-directing debut of indie screenwriter Gina O’Brien. This is the third feature from O’Brien whose Sundance premiere “Once More With Feeling” was produced by Rosetta Films’ Paul Jarrett. Jarrett directed O’Brien’s second screenplay “Fan Girl” which premiered on ABC Family.
Prior to screenwriting, Gina was a journalist and magazine editor in New York City. She has been published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, and a variety of magazines. She married her college sweetheart and eventually left her career to raise their two children. Today she’s an avid tennis player but remains “only a little better than sucking,” (her words, not mine!)