Million Dollar Arm is not really worth the money
After losing his last chance at a his only major client, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace as a last ditch effort to save his career. Hoping to tap into the last untouched market for baseball, India, JB hopes to find a young cricket pitcher that he can turn into a major league star. JB concocts a reality show competition called “Million Dollar Arm”, that with the help of investors he travels to India to launch with the help of a cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout (Alan Arkin). The competition produces Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma), two 18 year old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet possess a raw talent for throwing a fastball. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his pool house tenant Brenda (Lake Bell), starts to learn valuable lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.
Million Dollar Arm is a predictable and formulaic sports tale that happens to be based on a true story. A harmless tale that lacks any staying power, the film is almost forgettable immediately after exiting the theater, Million Dollar Arm wastes the talents of many talented people involved while producing the most plain and dull product it can. Most of the cast seem to be slumming here; Hamm tries his best despite the cookie cutter script but really has nothing to deliver. The normally reliable and talented Arkin, Bill Paxton and Lake Bell seem to be barely even attempting to produce anything, partially due to the script but also because they all look bored and uninterested for the duration of the film.
The film could have easily been the product of a Disney Sunday night television movie form the late 80’/early 90’s, with its simplistic ideals and family oriented slant, and if it weren’t for the cast this may not even have made theaters. Director Craig Gillespie seems to have lost his stride after the wonderfully low key “Lars and the Real Girl”, first delivering a spectacularly lackluster remake of 80’s cult favorite “Fright Night” and now Million Dollar Arm. His direction here also seems to be out of the old school Disney mode, filled with goofy montages and life lesson that can be seen a mile away, as there is no surprises in the film at any moment in time.
Million Dollar Arm is as harmless as films come, but it’s also utterly forgettable and devoid of any emotion whatsoever. Let’s hope Lake Bell uses her paycheck to direct another film like last year’s sublime ‘In A World’, which resonated with audiences more in its first 15 minutes that the entire run time of Million Dollar Arm will.
Till Next Time
Movie Junkie TO
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