Million Dollar Arm

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I loved it. Great story, based on real-life events, of a sports agent holding a nationwide contest in India to find a couple of cricket players who could throw a baseball with “juice” (i.e. fast and accurate), awarding them with a trip to the US to get professional training and a major league tryout. Jon Hamm is pretty perfect as the down on his luck agent, kind of like a 2008 version of Don Draper gone out on his own: arrogant, but with likable potential if he slows down from his fast track business focus enough to appreciate the people around him. The scenes in India give just enough local flavor to keep it interesting, while the secondary characters stand out, especially Alan Arkin as the jaded scout, Bill Paxton as the coach Tom House, and Pitobash as the volunteer translator and gofer who’s got big baseball ambitions but tiny stature. Lake Bell is good as the tenant neighbor love interest and wise voice of reason, while the two potential pitchers are realistically quiet and intimidated by the fish out of water experience, and end up doing a realistic version of pitching so it doesn’t look like typical Hollywood actors trying to be athletes. Finally, I must mention that the film was inspired by my college friend, Will Chang, who in real life funded the contest and helped initiate the film. The character that portrays “Mr. Chang” is quite harsh, which is very unlike Will in real life, so I assume they needed it for dramatic impact. Some critics have called the film corny and boring. I agree it’s no Jerry McGuire, and no Slumdog Millionaire, but it’s very enjoyable and I was never bored. Bring kids of all ages and you will have fun.

 

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