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Million Dollar Arm Review: Emotions Win In Deja Vu Sports Drama

May 16, 2014 | By

Million Dollar Arm does not fall in the bracket of exceptionally good sports drama but its running length of 124 min laced with brilliant performances will make for a good watch.


Million Dollar Arm

Million Dollar Arm released in the theatres worldwide on May 16.

Written by Up‘s writer Thomas McCarthy, Million Dollar Arm traverses a path filled with cliché and is too predictable to bet on what happens next. Still it’s got genuine emotions at its center that will make you sit through it without getting bored.

It is based on true story of sports agent of Seven Figure Management, J B Bernstein, whose final hope of gaining financial stability is lost after NFL player Popo rejects the deal. J B Bernstein comes up with the idea of picking up two Indian cricket players as Baseball pitchers after flipping through a cricket match and Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent audition on TV. According to him, it will create tremendous amount of revenue back in India with high TRP and sales of accessories, thanks to population of “Billions” with “B” as referred by J.B.

Bernstein, played by Jon Hamm, travels to India along with Sports Scout to select a couple of guys from reality show Million Dollar Arm. Winners would get the chance to receive training and possibly play in National Baseball team is the promise. 

Rinku: A gifted pitcher with a very odd windup

Rinku: A gifted pitcher with a very odd windup

Fir kya tha, all Goras can be seen downgrading India. They continue to portray the age old stereotypes of the darker and poorer side of India as if the bubonic plague has hit India again.

Anyways, the Indian visit is mercifully for a short time and the two players, Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal) are recruited after the finale of the “reality show” in open ground which looked exactly like any rigged show with a circus like stage filled with Indian dancers performing to loud music.

Dinesh: A hardworking teen who leaves the family business to get the chance of a lifetime to win a major league baseball contract.

Dinesh: A hardworking teen who leaves the family business to get the chance of a lifetime to win a major league baseball contract.

Problems or so called hardships faced by the poor and the not so highly educated youngster are portrayed well. They have done it earnestly, with good performances giving you that déjà vu feel that you have seen this before but you don’t complain.

Like all studio pictures, just before the big finish there are several scenes of despair, you know the usual that happens – our heroes have come so close to their goal, but now it looks like they can’t possibly make it, until one of the characters does something great, like give a life defining speech or drive to the airport really fast. In this case, both the Indian players feel defeated, as it turns out going from newbie to pro in 10 months is really hard.

But don’t worry about them! Screenwriter Tom McCarthy rings in the climax with a speech so preposterous even Jon Hamm can’t sell it. Its gist: JB’s sorry that he forgot that baseball is supposed to be fun, which of course stirs up just the belly-fire these boys need.

Million Dollar Arm does not fall in the bracket of exceptionally good sports drama but its running length of 124 min laced with brilliant performances will make for a good watch. Jon Hamm is brilliant as self-centered, materialistic sports agent who is emotionally flawed but still poses an ability so that audiences fall for him and root for his success.

Suraj Sharma and Madhur Mittal plays their characters safely and do not have much to offer in terms of performance. Brenda played by Lake as paying guest at JB’s bungalow is the character you can relate to best. She has so much of sincerity and honesty that you fall for her character. Last but not the least, Alan Arkin has a very short role but he puts in an excellent performance. See this movie only for him. His one liners are not comical but a little inclined towards sarcasm which will definitely crack you up.

Million Dollar Arm, though “highly predictable” and can be surely seen for Alan Arkin and Hamm’s performances, a few genuine laughs and of course if you feel despondent and low, it can lift you up a little bit. Naah , I was just kidding about lifting you up! Anyways watch it on some lazy afternoon.

Rating: 7/10

Nafees Ahmed is a member of Moviemaniacs Facebook Group. The opinions shared by the reviewers are their personal opinions and does not reflect the collective opinion of Moviemaniacs Facebook Group or Silhouette Magazine.

Pictures used in this review are courtesy Million Dollar Arm Facebook

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Nafees Ahmed loves Cinema. Loves Coffee. Loves Food. Loves his gal. Loves Music. Drools over home made Biryani. Unbiased, unjudgemental and unprofessional writer with a little tweak of sarcasm. Enslaved to a '9 to 6' job as software professional.
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Silhouette Magazine publishes articles, reviews, critiques and interviews and other cinema-related works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers and critics as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers and critics are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Silhouette Magazine. Images on Silhouette Magazine are posted for the sole purpose of academic interest and to illuminate the text. The images and screen shots are the copyright of their original owners. Silhouette Magazine strives to provide attribution wherever possible. Images used in the posts have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, YouTube, Pixabay and Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.