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The Rookie

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Rookie

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths
Director: John Lee Hancock
Rated: G
RunTime: 129 Minutes
Release Date: March 2002
Genres: Sports, Drama

*Also starring: Angus T. Jones, Brian Cox, Jay Hernandez, Beth Grant, Mario Ernesto Sanchez, Russell Richardson

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

Filled with wholesome values and good intentions, this family-geared sports saga pushes all the drama buttons. And Dennis Quaid delivers a solid, totally credible performance as earnest Jim Morris, a high-school science teacher who, in 1999, really did make it in big league baseball. Problem is: it's boring, very boring. Written by Mike Rich ("Finding Forrester") and directed by former screenwriter John Lee Hancock ("Remember the Titans," "A Perfect World"), it begins with a surreal sequence in the dry, dusty West Texas landscape and segues to young Jimmy (Trevor Morgan), a Navy brat and baseball fanatic, whose insensitive father (Brian Cox) is transferred from one post to another, finally settling in the tiny oil town of Big Lake, Texas. Flash-forward to Jim (Dennis Quaid), now coaching at Big Lake High School. He's in his mid-30s with a wife (Rachel Griffiths of "Six Feet Under") and three kids, particularly an adoring eight year-old son (Angus T. Jones). Frustrated that the guys on his baseball team view themselves as losers, he urges them to "follow your dreams," while they - in turn - challenge him to try out for the big leagues. His injured arm has healed and he pitches at 98 m.p.h.! So when his squad wins its District Championship, he goes to tryouts, throws fast balls and is quickly signed up by a farm team of the Tampa Devil Rays. Chock-full of clichés with a schmaltzy music by Carter Burwell, it's all plodding and predictable with a few heart-tugging moments. According to the closing credits, the real Jim Morris, after being the oldest big-league rookie in 30 years, went on to play major league baseball for two years. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Rookie" is an uplifting, shamelessly sweet 6 - but so solemnly slow-paced that you want to scream, "Play ball!"

Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger

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