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Starring: Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John Hawkes, D.B. Sweeney
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Paramount Pictures
Web Site:
Kiddie Movie: Not too young, and it might be a little emotional for them.
Date Movie: She'll be blubbering on your shoulder.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Keanu gets roughed up some.
Action: More suspense.
Laughs: The kids are great.
Memorable Scene: When Little G plays the part of sports agent.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Brian Robbins
Produced By: Tina Nides, Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins

A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 1:46 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
"Hardball" could have been dubbed "the feel-good movie of the year" all until a scene late in the movie that snaps you back into reality. Reality sucks sometimes.

Anyway, "Hardball" tells the sort of real but doctored-by-Hollywood story of Conor (Keanu Reeves), a gambler who finds happiness by coaching a group of kids living in the projects of Chicago. Here we goÖ

Conor likes gambling on sporting events, the only problem is that he isnít really any good at it. In debt to a bunch of bookies, as a last resort he turns to a stock broker buddy who, rather than keep on bailing him out, hires Conor to coach the team they sponsor (and donít sponsor well) in the projects. Conor is in it solely for his weekly check so he doesnít get his legs broken, and we see this at the beginning. Does he really coach the kids? No. What does he do when he finds out he might lose his coaching gig because they donít have enough players? Convince the parents that heíll help their kids with their schoolwork. Does he have any idea of the lives the kids are leaving? Not until he keeps them after dark for practice and one of the kids gets beat up going home, and when he takes another home, the boy asks Conor if he would like to see where he lived, and as Conor is walking through the halls he asks why everyone sits on their floor to which is replied so they donít get shot by stray bullets through the windows.

Eventually Conor begins to snap into reality and sees himself as having a bigger purpose other than just a degenerate gambler. Finally, when he wins big enough to pay off his debts, rather than roll the money over, well, he takes the kids to a baseball game (complete with a really dorky scene with Sammy Sosa).

"Hardball" does its best to manipulate your heartstrings and does it well, and a lot of people are criticizing it for that. But isnít that what Hollywood does? Sure, the movie is based on a true story and gets manipulated, but it does what you would expect Ė has you immediately liking the kids even with their foul mouths; has you at first despising Conor but then growing to love him; and hits you with an emotional scene.

Life isnít always great and "Hardball" shows this. But life does have its moments of greatness and happiness and "Hardball" shows this as well. Expect some stereotypes, expect a "where does this really fit" love story, and expect a movie that will manipulate you into getting a little emotional Ė itís what Hollywood usually does best.

I liked "Hardball" even though I knew it was manipulating me. It showed that kids will be kids, that sometimes degenerates change, and, well, I just liked the movie. It wasnít great, but Iíll give it 3 Ĺ stars out of 5. There isnít too much out there right now so go ahead and pay full price.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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