A baseball movie feels like the perfect start to summer movie season. Friday, May 16, a new Jon Hamm movie, Million Dollar Arm, comes to theaters.
Did I mention Jon Hamm? Because he’s in it. Starring in the based-on-a-real-life story of sports agent JB Bernstein, Hamm’s character hopes to turn two Indian cricket players into American baseball pitchers.
The only problem is baseball is not especially popular in India. Cricket is the game of choice. Hamm’s character proposes a reality-show event offering a cash prize and a go at Major League baseball to the winners.
Once the winners are back in the states, a whole new set of problems of the fish out of water variety arise. Can two bowlers from India rise to the challenge of American pitching, even if they tweak it a little?
You’ll recognize the young cricket players, actors Madhur Mittal from Slumdog Millionaire and Suraj Sharma from Life of Pi.
The cast is rounded out by Lake Bell as the attractive neighbor lady, Alan Arkin in the standard cantankerous old guy roll, and Bill Paxton as a baseball pitching coach.
This looks to be a standard fish-out-of-water meets sports drama, but hopefully with enough heart to make up for the predictable tropes. And, will fans of Jon Hamm really even care? It’s two uninterrupted hours of prime Hamm!
Also, Lake Bell is an underutilized gem. If you’d like to see more of this talented actress, watch last year’s comedy In a World…, which she also wrote and directed. For Hollywood, that’s a rarity.
Million Dollar Arm was available for preview last week at the AARP convention in Boston. It received generally positive reviews. On the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film fares better with the audience than with critics. Entertainment Weekly grades it a B- and compares it to another sports agent movie, Jerry Maguire.