Million Dollar Arm Movie Review
Don Draper drinks and womanizes in the Disney movie Million Dollar Arm, a drama-comedy about a sports agent who gets upset when his plan to bring two Indian athletes to America to become professional baseball players interferes with his ability to drink and womanize.
Jon Hamm (if you didn't get the "Mad Men" reference, I roll my eyes at you) stars alongside Aasif Mandvi, Pitobash, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell, Bill Paxton and a largely wasted Alan Arkin in this surprisingly fun movie that relies heavily on cast chemistry.
While Million Dollar Arm is about baseball, there's not a whole lot of baseball in the movie—instead, it's more of a fish-out-of-water story (both for the Indian ballplayers and for Hamm's character, who for the first time has to care about someone other than himself) that plays its premise for laughs.
The movie is a lot like other Disney sports movies based on true stories—Miracle and The Rookie come to mind—in that it entertains, offers up some laughs, delivers a few life lessons and leaves you at the end with a good feeling, but falls just short of being great, perhaps for the same reasons.
Hamm and the rest of the cast do a fine job in their respective roles; they play off each other well to make the most of the screenplay, which offers just enough edge to be interesting. The chemistry between Hamm and Bell is strong, and Mandvi is as funny as you'd expect. Million Dollar Arm pokes fun at Indian stereotypes while still embracing the culture.
At just over two hours long, the movie's biggest weakness is its length. While director Craig Gillespie maintains a strong pace, Million Dollar Arm does drag a bit toward the end. There's no reason why the running length couldn't have been cut by 10 or 15 minutes, and the tightening would have turned what is a solid double into a sliding triple.
I probably should have made a pitching reference there, but close enough. Million Dollar Arm is fun, entertaining and funny; it isn't perfect, and it may not even be a no-hitter, but it delivers a complete game nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.