Film Review: Home Run

Baseball, little kids and religion could be a queasy formula for the movie blues but, happily, this one slides down pretty easily.

Hard-living Cory Brand (Scott Elrod) is one maverick baseball player in trouble. A recent DUI arrest finds him suspended from his team and obliged to undergo an alcoholism program in his hometown while coaching the Little League team to improve his image. But old bad ways die hard, and he fakes his way through the treatment, all the while trying to reignite a relationship with an ex-girlfriend (Dorian Brown). A history of parental abuse lies at the root of his self-destructiveness, and the film charts his rock-strewn path to redemption.

This Christian propaganda film has been smoothly helmed and handsomely photographed by David Boyd. Although it has its grindingly obvious moments—including perhaps one too many confessions at AA meetings of various kinds of abuse—Boyd wisely doesn’t slam the inspirational message too hard, and provides enough insight into the characters to make them more than just cardboard proselytizers for faith. It all goes down relatively easily, and at times may even have some hardened cynics in the audience moist around the eyes.

Elrod, familiar now from Argo, has a male model’s handsomeness but, unfortunately, a predictable acting style that renders his more volcanic emotions generically bland. Brown shows some spunk in a single-Mom, ever-skeptical, one-note role. But it is Vivica A. Fox as Helene, Cory‘s agent, who really enlivens the film. She’s put on a few pounds, but throws that bodacious body around like a devil in a red dress as she fast-talks her and Cory‘s way out of any number of tricky, potentially career-destroying situations. A good part of the film’s appeal stems from the Little Leaguers themselves, an ingratiating cadre of tykes who are, mercifully, real kids and not your standard-issue movie brats.