Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Jon Hamm, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Pitobash
How many talent shows are there where the prize is a life changing opportunity? The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, The Voice, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The list goes on and most of them have different versions for different countries. How many of these have inspired movies? Slumdog Millionaire, One Chance, etc. Now there is another.
In his first leading role since finishing Mad Men, Jon Hamm plays JB, a sports agent that comes up with the idea of taking an Indian cricketer and turning him into a baseball pitcher having seen Britain’s Got Talent and cricket on the television. Based on a true story, Hamm comes up with a contest all across India and, with the help of Ray (Arkin) eventually finds two winners in the forms of Rinku (Sharma) and Dinesh (Mittal).
IS IT ANY GOOD?
Coached by Bill Paxton, Million Dollar Arm is a throwback to Disney’s best live-action film days and is a family movie that casts Hamm in a new light. Gone is Don Draper and in his place is a man that proves he can act, a man that should have a promising career ahead of him. Throw in the dysfunctional family dynamic of Hamm living with two boys and a potential new coach (Pitobash) that have never been to the USA before and there are some laughs. The film itself seems to drag on through the competition, the end of every scene is obvious before it even begins, and the love story between Hamm and the woman who rents a room of his (Bell) is pretty weak. The film could and should have had the run time drastically cut down as by the end it is nearly a relief when we see the real footage and know that it’s over.
Though Hamm is excellent, the majority of the cast are just faces on the screen and are quickly forgotten. It’s refreshing to see Disney releasing family movies alongside all of their action blockbusters but they need to rediscover the magic formula that they used to use.