*** out of ****
I remember seeing the Disney produced feel good underdog sports film Cool Runnings (1993) which was a fictional account of the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team in the winter Olympics. Needless to say, I thoroughly disliked the film because its only goal was to be a superficial comedy, and even on that level it wasn't that funny. Now, Disney is at it again with another feel good sports film with Million Dollar Arm. This one I liked. It's based on a true story, but like any good conventional screenplay it is going to invent situations and characters for dramatic effect. That's all fine, because Million Dollar Arm has an honest heart and allows us to see into its characters.
The story has desperate sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) seeking out cricket players from India to play Major League Baseball. The two athletes that he does pick, Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) are not actually cricket players.
What I liked best about the film is its authentic feel for India, and how it shows the culture shock from the perspectives of Rinku and Dinesh when the come to America. Also, Lake Bell gives a winning performance as J.B.'s love interest.
Yeah, it's predictable and a little clunky in its storytelling at times, but Million Dollar Arm is feel good fluff that works.