This afternoon I sat behind home plate watching “Million Dollar Arm” as a sports agent staged an unconventional strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to pitch for Major League Baseball.
Million Dollar Arm is a Disney movie based on the true story about a sports agent that goes to India to try and find the next big major league baseball pitcher. Bernstein needs to get some new clients, so he figures why not try India? He takes a trip to India and has a talent hunt, in the form of a reality show called Million Dollar Arm, in which the winner will win a trip to America and the chance to try out for the major leagues.
What makes this movie work is the performances from all the actors. It’s a grand slam performance. Jon Hamm, with his flawlessly groomed stubble and cocky grin, plays the haughty, all business sports agent Bernstein with ease. The two stars of the show are Suraj Sharma, the star of Life of Pi who plays Rinku and Madhur Mittal, the older brother from Slumdog Millionaire who plays Dinesh. Both of them perform their roles very beguilingly and inspire affection for their characters so you’ll become emotionally invested in them and their journey. The rest of the supporting cast also perform their roles very well especially Lake Bell who was impressive in her role as Brenda. She does a fantastic job as the mediator between JB and the boys, helping JB come down to earth to treat the boys right.
There are times the comedy in the movie is hilarious. I am not a baseball fan, and yet I found myself laughing and cheering several times throughout the movie. I enjoyed every moment of it because the main focus isn’t on the sport, but the relationships built. These two Indian boys are still teenagers that have never been far from home. They’re scared, nervous, alone, and don’t know English. This is an emotional roller-coaster for everyone involved and watching it unfold is touching and beautiful. The direction and editing are also pretty impressive.
During the end credits, they show pictures and video of the real Rinku and Dinesh from India that the movie is based on. You will also get a recap of what happened to them after the try outs. It’s rated “PG” for some mild language and has a running time of 2 hours & 4 minutes.
Million Dollar Arm is a predictable, motivating sport film from the Disney field of dreams. Run the bases to see this feel-good film with your family. Don’t let it slip by you, even if you’re not a sports fan.