Million Dollar Arm is Disney’s latest; with a promising trailer and being aware that it is based on a true story I was more than ready to sit back and enjoy what I hoped was Dis
Million Dollar Arm is Disney’s latest; with a promising trailer and being aware that it is based on a true story I was more than ready to sit back and enjoy what I hoped was Disney’s latest masterpiece.
Whilst a good film, it was, unfortunately, not great. It is sadly a tourist snapshot of India, littered with stereotypes and an excess of sentimentality though saved, at times, by the acting of the cast.
Despite a promising premise, the film was filled with stereotypes from the outset. We see a snapshot of India, but it is the tourist version. This is not an animated film, however, and so this Disney-fied version is not really required, we would much prefer something more real than the standard busy roads and rickshaws.
This stereotypical nature extends to the characters and, although humorous at times, is just a little too unoriginal and irritating.
The story itself is also overly predictable. Once we see JB Bernstein, a sports agent, have his lightbulb moment to find a baseball pitcher in India everything seems to just fall into place. Again, a Disney-fied version of events.
Bernstein goes to India, the competition is hugely popular and he finds two talented potential baseball players (Rinku and Dinesh), who travel to North America and in the end, after a small hurdle, are signed to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Whilst this is all happening, JB becomes a better person due to the effect of the pretty and likeable (surprise surprise) girl next door. However, it is easier to be more forgiving with the cliched storyline, as the film is based on a true story, and so there wasn’t really much that could be done.
The true story just happened to be a happy ending, perfect for a Disney film.
Humour and talented actors make it watchable
What makes this film worth watching is the flashes of comedy here and there, mainly due to the talent of the actors. Small moments, such as when Rinku keeps checking that the elevator doesn’t close when he puts his hand between the doors, or declares that he has fallen in love with pizza are brilliantly funny.
Similarly, the explanation of why bribery and bypassing the system are absolutely not the same thing by Darshan Jarwala, who plays an Indian guide, is of great comedic value.
These moments make the film worth watching, especially as the writing is excessively sentimental. This is rescued by good acting but sometimes betrayed by music. With moments overplayed, the soundtrack seems to tell you how to feel in case you weren’t sure, even when it is glaringly obvious.
A little more subtlety wouldn’t have gone amiss.
So, despite the film’s faults, characters are likeable and talented. We end up caring about JB and Brenda ending up together and, more importantly, whether Rinku and Dinesh will make it in the major leagues.
Your head will tell you that of course they will, you see it coming a mile away, yet you are drawn in and hoping until the last second. Regardless of the film seeming a little too long and drawn out, the plot is not conceptually flawed and it is held together by the moments of greatness here and there.
Not bad, but not great.
Kettle Rating: 2.75/5
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