Feel good offbeat sports movie

Million Dollar Arm Disney Rating: PG 124 minutes

In Million Dollar Arm Jon Hamm (Mad Men) plays a sports agent without any sports stars to represent. So he gets the idea to go to India and find a couple of talented cricket players who really know how to throw a ball. Then he wants to bring them back to Los Angeles and turn them into champion professional baseball pitchers.

At first the idea doesn’t seem to be working out, and the trip to India is more chaotic than exotic. But with the help of a sleepy retired scout (Alan Arkin) he eventually finds two potential stars, played by Suraj Sharma from Life of Pi and Madhur Mittal from Slumdog Millionaire. They don’t know anything about baseball (the game is almost unknown in India), but there’s big money involved, and a trip to America is a prize in itself. Once in L.A., a professional coach (Bill Paxton) tries to turn them into baseball pros.

Lake Bell scores in her brief appearances as the love interest and Hamm shines in a role quite different from his character in Mad Men. The plot is based on a true story (there are pictures of the real people involved during the end credits) and while it is utterly predictable, it’s a pleasant, entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. Offbeat for a sports film, but the characters are human and likable and, as with most Disney movies, you will feel good when you leave the theatre.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.

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