Mac plays Stan Ross, a former baseball all-star who has spent his retirement years capitalizing on his claim to fame: getting 3,000 hits in his playing career, an accomplishment that makes him a baseball legend. He's put that feat to good use, opening up a 3,000 Hits shopping center, while shamelessly campaigning to get into the Hall of Fame.
Those plans come to a halt, when a statistical error reveals that Stan only has 2,997 hits. The 3,000 hits were Stan's ticket to the hall, but now the dream is over. The sportswriters, who hated him and who vote for admission, snub him. Stan's old teammates abandon him, no surprise considering his enormous ego, big mouth, and selfish tendencies.
Needing a measly three hits, the 47-year-old Stan comes out of a nine-year retirement and decides to suit up for his old team, the Milwaukee Brewers, who are desperate for attention and larger attendance. Stan has to get back in shape, get used to his new teammates (whom he derisively calls "little leaguers") and work things out with his old flame, Monica (Angela Bassett), who is now an ESPN correspondent.
Mac is the lone bright spot of the movie -- his charm and confidence makes Stan likeable and not an older version of Barry Bonds. The rest of Mr. 3000 is a shambles, as Mac's capable supporting cast (Bassett, Michael Rispoli, Chris Noth) are not presented as real characters but rather as thinly veiled plot motivators or as jokes with bad punch lines. The worst example is Paul Sorvino, as Mac's disgruntled manager, who says nothing at all in the film until finally unleashing a string of profanities in the last 10 minutes.
Like a lot of mediocre movies, Mr. 3000's key flaw is that the screenwriters and director Charles Stone III can't decide what movie they want to make, so we get a series of frustrating stops and starts. Just when the plot is establishing a comedic tone, Stone throws in poetic, slow motion shots of players warming up on the field. Or after some attempted yuks, there's a scene when the negative media coverage overwhelms a depressed Stan. As for the romance between Stan and Maureen, it's such a transparent screenwriting ploy you never warm up to it. It's like two Syd Field books falling in love.
As for the sports angle, forget it. The key element to a successful sports movie is that there has to be something on the line. When Stan starts thinking more about the team, we would hope that the Brewers would be playing for something meaningful, like a playoff spot, but their big goal is to reach third place. There's nothing less riveting than a team striving for mediocrity. If you're looking for the raunchy clubhouse humor which has been used to great effect in so many sports movies, this is not the place. We are treated to a cursing mascot, the Japanese pitcher who can't curse, and the two teammates who quiz each other on soap operas. Ah, sanitized sports.
In most of Mr. 3000, Stan looks uncomfortable and clumsy while batting. He can't find his timing and the balance isn't there. He eventually finds his groove on the field and off of it. The movie never does.
The DVD includes some tepid deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, commentary track, and various featurettes.
I said bunt!
Run time: 104 mins
In Theaters: Friday 17th September 2004
Box Office USA: $21.8M
Box Office Worldwide: $21.8M
Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures
Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 61 Rotten: 51
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Charles Stone III
Starring: Bernie Mac as Stan Ross, Angela Bassett as Maureen "Mo" Simmons, Michael Rispoli as Boca, Brian J. White as Rex 'T-Rex' Pennebaker, Dondre Whitfield as Skillet, Paul Sorvino as Gus Panas, Tom Arnold as Tom Arnold, Dane Cook as Sausage Mascot