FILM THIS WEEK: DATE
Ratings: ★ ✩ ✮ ✰ ☆
Friday 29th August 2014
Million Dollar Arm (PG)
SYNOPSIS: Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren’t going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “The Million Dollar Arm.”
With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.
A lovely entertaining film, I even had a blub! It’s heart-warming. Once JB arrives in Indian, you have to run the gauntlet of predictable ‘Delhi Belly’ Jokes, and there’s a joke about ‘juice’ that just made me sigh! Why do the ‘natives’ always have to be shown as simpletons? Granted, some of the antics of the boys in LA fresh from India are funny, but it’s a more kind of ‘honest’ funny.
Anyhoos… Once we’re passed those little niggles, it’s an interesting story, with lots of laughs, AND just the right mix of emotion. Jon Hamm fitted the role of ‘business before everything’, sports agent well and his transition was lovely to see, I also loved Alan Arkin’s belligerence! The fact that this is based on a true story and we get to see pictures of the actual two winners of Million Dollar Arm at the end of the film, wrapped it up perfectly. Those last shots warmed my heart.
Rated: 4 – ✮ ✯ ✰☆
Director: Craig Gillespie. Starring: Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Alan Arkin