Thursday, June 19, 2014

Movie Review: "Million Dollar Arm" (2014)

Movie"Million Dollar Arm"
Director: Craig Gillespie
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes
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JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) is a struggling sports agent who has just lost his biggest client. Struggling to pay the bills and keep his business afloat, he gets the idea to create a talent contest that will be held in India called Million Dollar Arm. The contest promises to find the first major league baseball player from India, as well as $1,000,000. JB hopes that he might be able to recruit some cricket players and teach them to play American baseball. The two boys who are chosen, Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal), travel to America to learn the game and hope to get signed with a major league team.


When most of these inspirational sports movies come out, we sort of roll our eyes because they are all pretty much the same story just told in a slightly different manner. This movie had a really compelling trailer with a awesome song to boot, so I was personally looking forward to seeing it, though I don't know the first thing about baseball or the main characters Rinku and Dinesh.

This movie had a lot of sap, but it also had a lot of laughs and some great inspiration, though it is pretty typical from a sports movie. It is also complete with a montage. As Rinku and Dinesh come from small, very rural towns in India without many modern amenities, much of the movie focuses on their initial culture shock when coming to the US. Like most sports movies, the sport of baseball itself is more of a backdrop to the human interest story. Audiences also see JB himself transition from a person solely looking for money and the lifestyle it comes with to a person who stops viewing the kids whose lives he's changing as a product. Throughout the movie, he actually begins to understand them as people and realizes that they are more than what money he can make off of them.

There are a lot of great performances in this film, but one in particular is that of Amit (Pitobash), who serves as JB's translator since he speaks English. Though he is mainly this movie's comic relief, he actually has one of the more touching scenes and roles in this film. The performances by Sharma and Mittal are good as well. The two boys are extremely convincing as young baseball prospects who need to find their place in the crazily fast-paced America, while still holding on to their families, their faith, and their culture. Jon Hamm plays Jon Hamm and, again, needs to clear his throat. Alan Arkin is another source of comic relief for the movie, but plays an old curmudgeon very well.

All in all, if you are looking for a touching movie that happens to be about sports, go for this one, it's not half bad. You may not feel overly inspired after it's through, but you certainly won't be disappointed.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 61%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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