Based on a true story, this is one of those relentlessly uplifting Disney movies that mixes comedy and emotion to inspire and move the audience. Thankfully, it also has a very smart screenplay by Tom McCarthy (Win Win) that draws out some resonant themes while tackling cross-culture issues with wit and honesty. This makes it easy to identify with the sparky characters who are trying to reinvent themselves.
Sports manager JB (Jon Hamm) certainly needs a reinvention. He has lost all of his high-profile clients and now needs to find the next big thing. Perceived as washed-up, he has some difficulty convincing someone to fund his crazy plan to stage a talent competition in India to find baseball talent among the local cricket players. With the help of his easily distracted assistant Aash (Aasif Mandvi) and cantankerous ex-coach Ray (Alan Arkin), he narrows the candidates down to two potential stars: Rinku and Danesh (Life of Pi's Suraj Sharma and Slumdog Millionaire's Madhur Mittal). After JB brings them back to Los Angeles, along with over-eager interpreter Amit (Pitobash), renegade coach Tom (Bill Paxton) has to whip them into shape to see if they can attract interest from the big-league teams.
While the film continually threatens to indulge in smiley culture-clash slapstick, McCarthy's script continually grounds the action in the characters, who emerge as fully rounded people who are engagingly unpredictable. The cast is earthy and natural, anchored ably by Hamm as a likeable guy who remains self-absorbed even though he's desperate, and who takes a long time to learn his rather simple lesson. His chemistry with Lake Bell (as the plain-talking tenant in his pool house) is superbly messy. And ace scene-stealers Mandvi and Arkin bring plenty of comic relief to their hilarious roles.
Continue reading: Million Dollar Arm Review
Sports agent JB Bernstein was once incredibly successful in his field, but now there's a bunch of serious new sporting entrepreneurs in town that look to be about to make his job very difficult. With his agency under the threat of closure, he and his partner Ash need to start thinking long and hard about fresh new ideas that could rake in the dollars. While watching a cricket match on the box, JB devises a crazy idea to find America's next huge baseball star in India by setting up a talent show for the nation's finest young cricketers. The finalists of the show entitled 'Million Dollar Arm' are Rinku and Dinesh, who subsequently fly over to the US to begin training in the art of baseball. However, things are less easy than they first appeared and JB finds himself in deep water when it becomes clear just how different baseball and cricket are.
Continue: Million Dollar Arm - Clips
JB Bernstein is a sports agent who may outwardly look successful, but is struggling to make much business these days due to serious competition from much more enterprising sports entrepreneurs. JB and his business partner Ash are under significant threat of closure if they don't come up with some new ideas soon. He devises a plan to introduce America's next biggest baseball star by travelling to India to check out some of the nation's finest young cricketers. After filming a talent show called 'Million Dollar Arm', he brings winners Rinku and Dinesh over to the States to learn the art of baseball. Unfortunately, there appears to be more differences between baseball and cricket than Bernstein initially thought, and the boys are struggling under the pressure. However, with a little teamwork and determination, things start to look like they're going to work out just fine.
Continue: Million Dollar Arm Trailer
Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal and Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences - Dev Patel and Madhur Mittal at the Kodak Theatre Hollywood, California - The 81st Annual Academy Awards (Oscars) - Arrivals Sunday 22nd February 2009
On the other hand, few of Boyle's images are as instantly tasteless yet characteristic as a young Indian boy jumping into a swamp of feces in order to secure an autograph from Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan. The boy running around covered in excrement, some of which is his own, is young Jamal (Ayush Mahesh Khedekar). Moments after that presentation, Jamal and his older brother Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail) become orphaned when their mother is murdered for being a Muslim. The two boys take up with another young orphan Latika (Rubina Ali) and join up under Maman, the Fagin of this revisionist Oliver Twist. Salim saves Jamal from being blinded by Maman and the duo make off in the night, leaving Latika to fend for herself.
Continue reading: Slumdog Millionaire Review
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