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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.27%
Worth A Look33.78%
Average: 21.62%
Pretty Bad: 21.62%
Total Crap: 2.7%

7 reviews, 32 user ratings

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For Love of the Game
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by Erik Childress

"Costner and Baseball - A Sure Bet? Not This Time"
2 stars

For Love of the Game (* ½) – When Kevin Costner first came into prominence in the mid-to-late 80s, I’d be hard-pressed to find another actor who made better decisions with his choice of roles. And I’m not just talking good characters, I’m talking great movies. Movies that I gave four stars more often to alongside the modern day works of Harrison Ford and Robert DeNiro. Just look at the list: Silverado, The Untouchables, No Way Out, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, JFK, and A Perfect World. All of those films got four stars from me and I still admire other films like Tin Cup, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Waterworld, and still contend that The Postman was not as bad as all the critics said. But I will contend how bad I thought his latest effort is.

I was dumbfounded at how bad a majority of this movie was and I’m not just being a guy when I say it’s 99% of the scenes involving Kelly Preston. The romantic element of this movie fails on every level because I don’t know for the life of me why Costner’s character would pursue this girl over a period of five years. She’s simply not interesting – in fact so uninteresting that she doesn’t appear too bright. And it’s not like she’s Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary or even Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping. Preston has a nice sunny face, but that’s because there’s no light bulb going off inside this character’s head. Just witness the handling of the introduction of the daughter when we make this discovery (along with Costner) well after Preston has gone to visit him in Detroit from New York. She’s obviously not a very good parent either – especially as she chooses to make an untimely joke about her daughter’s name in the middle of a panic-stricken phone call to Costner. Preston has to be the center of arguably the most laughable scene of the year when she rushes Costner to the hospital after he pulls a Beavis on a table saw and after having trouble getting him help, shouts out “Is this America?” That line of dialogue is followed by an unintentional laugh when you see who the doctor is. This movie should have either been one of two things (1) either a straight baseball movie, strictly focusing on the team and the game at hand or (2) a comedy. And the reason I say number two is because they are some very funny lines in the movie (and I’m not talking about the ones that were unintentional) and Costner once again shows that he’s better at light comedy than soppy romance. Can anyone say The Bodyguard and Message in a Bottle? Ron Shelton should have been called in for an immediate rewrite because this has to be the worst screenplay of the year. Anyone who’s seen the preview has probably winced at Costner’s response to little kids buying baseball cards. “They buy those for the gum” is one of the dumbest lines of the year showing that the screenwriter is not in touch with the reality that not only do young kids love baseball cards, but that most packages don’t even come with gum anymore. There are so many things wrong with this movie it could fill a chapter in a book. It was funny to me that Kelly Preston played the exact opposite of this character in a much better also four-star sports romance film called Jerry Maguire (“I don’t cry at movies”, “I don’t gush over babies”) Kelly Preston cries so much in this movie, you’d think she was Claire Danes in a remake of Ghost. By the time Costner starts crying like Oskar Schindler in his hotel room, I was more than ready to leave. This love story has more corn in it than Field of Dreams and resolves with one of the lamest endings (in terms of how they end up meeting) of the year. I will give props to the baseball footage though which provided the only interest for me in the movie. I liked Costner’s commentary on the mound very much and his relationship to his catcher. But the script fails to even introduce us to no more than one other player on the team that’s “there for him” during his bid for a perfect game, which is interrupted by another boring flashback every time any tension or sustaining interest is starting to build – flashbacks which I doubt any pitcher would be thinking about during any ballgame.

Sure Costner looks like a pitcher and nearly every aspect of the baseball element is well handled, save for a few of the Yankee batters who make swings that wouldn’t impress tee-ball coaches. Just like I’m sure this film is not going to impress many big leaguers or moviegoers for that matter. My only true recommendation from seeing this film is to go to the video store and rent (on video & DVD) from the list at the beginning of this review.

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originally posted: 02/16/00 08:05:39
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User Comments

8/05/11 K D A film critic who knows nothing about Baseball. Right. Probably a soccer fan. 5 stars
2/12/09 Jheri Jones Wonderful film no matter what the critics say. 5 stars
5/12/07 Forrest D I like it a lot more than I expected to, esp. Jane's character, but she is underwritten. 5 stars
2/23/05 Jeff Anderson Criminally underrated baseball film & a damn great one for both Raimi & Costner, I MEAN IT! 5 stars
11/02/04 Meirav Nora-Cohen I love this film. Costner is great as always and Preston is a hugh suprise - great actress! 4 stars
6/29/04 Cameron Cubbison Costner delivers a heartfelt, amiable performance, and anchors this Capraesque tale. 5 stars
12/11/03 john a great sports film and a good romance 5 stars
6/10/03 Jack Bourbon I enjoyed this movie. Not the slappable dud I expected. 4 stars
1/20/03 Jack Sommersby Underrated love story is affecting and beautifully acted. 4 stars
3/17/02 FlaFan Costner and the baseball scenes are great. Kelly Preston and certain scenes are not. 4 stars
2/26/02 Phil M. Afficianado So what's wrong with a male soap opera, baseball, and Costner? Nothing. 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Looks like a Foldger's coffee comercial...Raimi's only suck-fest (I blame Costner) 2 stars
5/28/01 cinkcool Worth a look. 4 stars
2/05/01 Wafer I think this movie only could have been pulled off by Raimi 4 stars
12/17/00 Jed Good movie it sure was. Costner has done worse than this people. 4 stars
7/13/00 Terrie Smith Not a baf film; not as good as Costner's previous "baseball" movies. 3 stars
5/25/00 Jed Costner's 2nd best film. A bit flawed but quite underrated. 4 stars
4/27/00 MR joel harwood ZzZzZ slightly drawn out slow in parts good in others, Its been done 4 stars
1/22/00 Josh Same old same old love story but very enjoyable as always by Raimi 4 stars
12/19/99 Herman What a relief after his last few bombs 4 stars
10/19/99 Cassandra I Love it!!! Definately a girls movie 4 stars
10/16/99 DarkHorse At least watch the damn thing before you bitchslap it, moron... It did suck however... 2 stars
10/03/99 Movie Lover Great movie - I loved it! 5 stars
10/01/99 spork-girl how do i like to be kissed? not by kevin costner 1 stars
9/27/99 Ron Jeremy Sucked all ass is definitly a good way to sum it up - more crap from costner 1 stars
9/26/99 The Lynchpyn works 'cause it's got the romance for chicks & the game for the guys 3 stars
9/26/99 Chickflick A great date movie!!! 4 stars
9/25/99 Bret What the hell was the point of the movie!!!!!! 2 stars
9/25/99 Alyssa Where was Bruce Campbell's cameo? He was needed to kick Costner's whiney little ass. 2 stars
9/19/99 Frank pretty good..more of a chick flick 3 stars
9/19/99 Mr Showbiz Kev's definitely on his B-game in this overblown melodrama. 3 stars
9/14/99 Jason Levine Terrific (but, of course, I'm a pushover for sappy romances, and when you add baseball...) 5 stars
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