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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look: 0%
Pretty Bad31.82%
Total Crap: 27.27%

3 reviews, 4 user ratings

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Everyone's Hero
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Haven't the Cubs Suffered Enough This Year?"
1 stars

As a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, I long ago came to realize that to be such a person would mean the regular swallowing of a certain substance that is most certainly not Shinola over the years. As a result, I have been able to grin and bear such humiliations as the 1984 playoffs, the infamous Bartman incident, the White Sox winning the World Series and far too many blown games to even begin to recount here, even if I were to limit myself only to this past season, secure in the knowledge that all of it is building towards something that I will hopefully one day live to see. However, there are certain things that are simply too cruel and hideous to ask even the most dedicated fan to endure and I submit that a wacky kids movie that offers us the notion of the dastardly owner of the Cubs devising a plan to steal the magical bat of dedicated family man/friend to all children Babe Ruth would top the list of most any sentient fan. And yet, that is exactly what we are being asked to swallow in the dreadful new kiddie film “Everyone’s Hero” and if that weren’t bad enough, the diabolical owner has been given the voice of none other than Robin “Patch Adams” Williams. Come on, not even the Cardinals deserve something that cruel.

Why steal Ruth’s magical bat, you might ask? Well, the owner wants the Cubs to finally win the World Series and he figures that if he has the bat in his hands, Ruth will go down swinging and the rest of the team will presumably do the same. Although you would think that he would have more luck neutralizing Ruth by sending him a poisoned hooker, he instead orders sleazy pitcher Lefty Maginnis (William H. Macy) to break into the equipment room at Yankee Stadium and steal the bat before the team leaves for the concluding World Series games in Chicago. Lefty is spotted skulking about by Yankee Irving ( Jake T. Austin), an awkward young baseball fanatic whose father (Mandy Patinkin) is a janitor at the stadium, but when the bat turns up missing, everyone assumes that Yankee took it and his father loses his job. Determined to get back both the bat and his father’s job, Yankee sneaks out of the house, with the help of an abandoned talking baseball he found in a sandlot (voiced by Rob Reiner) retrieves it after an extended sequence of train-related horseplay that seems like a questionable thing to show the few kids likely to turn up for the film and then sets off for Chicago to return it to his hero in time for the final game of the series. Does the bat get a voice as well? Why, yes it does and not only that, it has been given the extra-sassy voice of Whoopi Goldberg, which means that this film contains the most painful scenes involving a baseball bat to ever appear in a film since Joe Pesci went into the cornfield in “Casino.”

Having seen “Everyone’s Hero,” I can understand why the late Christopher Reeve would have been attracted to such material enough to want to co-direct it–the never-give-up spirit fits in perfectly with the message that he tried to get across from the time of his tragic paralysis to his eventual death a decade later. However, I can’t understand why he would helped to make a movie that goes so very wrong in so many ways. Although there are a couple of nice visual flourishes here and there–the 1930's period setting is nicely captured and the opening ball’s-eye shot of a baseball going over the fences is amusing–virtually everything else about it is more appalling than not. The kid is a colorless little mope, Goldberg and Reiner are constantly annoying as the bat and ball (of course, anyone who listened to Reiner’s commentary track on the “When Harry Met Sally” DVD would find it perfectly understandable that a ball with his voice would be abandoned in the first place) and the other characters barely make an impression at all. (I will admit to chuckling at one point when it sounded as if William H. Macy was channeling Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” while demanding “Gimme the bat!”) What is really frustrating is the way that the film passes over an attempt to reach out to a potential new generation of fans by exposing them to the glorious history of the game in order to present more stupid slapstick and sentiment–in the world posited by this film, Babe Ruth is the friendliest guy in the world and without a single personal demon to speak of, the Negro Leagues are filled with players who seem perfectly content with their station in life and the final at-bat in the World Series can be given to a 10-year-old boy. Look, I realize it is a kids movie and I’m not asking for a close-up of Lou Gehrig coughing in the locker room but just a touch of actual history would have helped a lot. (Perhaps when the film hits DVD, presumably in the next week or two, the deleted scenes will feature a bit in which the Negro League players rise up in righteous fury when they learn that a 10-year-old boy has been allowed to play in the majors and yet they are still barred from the league.

About as entertaining as Ron Santo during the second hour of a rain delay, “Everyone’s Hero” is too innocuous to be considered truly offensive but it is the kind of soul-deadening junk that is too often foisted off on children today by cynical adults who assume that they will watch anything as long as it is animated. Judging by the palpable sense of boredom that I was sensing from the children at the screening I attended, that is most certainly not the case and I suspect that most kids will get more excitement and thrills out of even the most meaningless end-of-season regulation ball game than they will with this film.

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originally posted: 09/15/06 14:18:07
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User Comments

10/16/06 William Goss Rather trite kids' effort plays very broad, but just ain't got that swing. 2 stars
10/01/06 michael good story 2 see funny too 5 stars
9/15/06 john riley This is a terriffic and refreshingly wholesome family film that is perfect for all ages. 5 stars
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  15-Sep-2006 (G)
  DVD: 20-Mar-2007



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