Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Million Dollar Arm Review - 3 Stars

“Mad Men” star Jon Hamm takes a star turn as a sport agent who dreams up a contest to find the next great major league baseball pitcher in India.  Based on the true story of JB Bernstein who dreamed up this angle while switching back and forth between a cricket match and “Britain’s Got Talent.”  The real contest (in 2008) produced players Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.  Actors Suraj Sharma (from “Life of Pi”)  and Madhur Mittal (from “Slumdog Millionaire) play the athletes—leading more than a few reviewers to describe “Million Dollar Arm”  as “Jerry Maguire” meets “Slumdog Millionaire.”  Actually that’s pretty good shorthand.  The movie sticks to a winning formula.  Alan Arkin joins the cast as a scout who looks for talent with his eyes closed.  Lake Bell adds romance as Jon Hamm’s back yard tenant/medical student who wins his heart.  Bill Paxton plays a creative coach.  Sharma and Mittal portray very likable fish out of water, who come to America with little knowledge of the world.  The mix of homesickness and culture clash adds emotion.  “Million Dollar Arm” mainly tells the agent’s story, even though the plays make a better story.  The movie runs too long and drags toward the end, but builds to a happy ending with a real life epilogue.  Not too many movies deliver the warm glow I got after watching ‘Million Dollar Arm.”  Does it deliver what it promises?    Great old-fashioned baseball fish out of water story.  Is it entertaining?  Easy and satisfying to watch.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Great family fare.