The Greatest Game Ever Played Movie Review
"The Greatest Game Ever Played" is a cliché sports movie, but that works in its favor.
Based on the 1913 U.S. Open, where 20-year old amateur Francis Ouimet defeated reigning champion Harry Vardon, "The Greatest Game Ever Played" is a feel-good sports drama that has plenty of excitement and suspense but somewhat lackluster direction by Bill Paxton.
Starring Shia LaBeouf as the lead character, the movie follows him as he tries to win the heart of his critical, working-class father, the hottie daughter of a rich tycoon and of Americans looking for a golf player to beat the dominating British. LaBeouf delivers a solid performance, as does Peyton List as the romantic interest.
More importantly, the golf is great and there is plenty of it. While Paxton includes plenty of character development, he never forgets what the movie is about: golf. The movie is full of golf, and if you don't think golf can be exciting, you're wrong. So, from a storytelling viewpoint, Paxton succeeds just fine, but his decision to play with special effects and other character tricks to show the golf ball shooting through the air is questionable. On the one hand, it's fun to watch; on the other hand, the special effects aren't good enough to really be pulled off, and the end result is a cartoonish look at times.
"The Greatest Game Ever Played" is certainly not the greatest movie ever made, but it is a fun golf movie that works in all the right ways.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.