|Index||5 reviews in total|
This film is not a great film. It's not high-quality. No effects, no fabulous camera-work, even the plot is fairly generic. But it works. As a TV movie, and one that is obviously not meant to be taken seriously, this film should not be judged in the same league as the great movies. This film is startlingly similar to Mr. Baseball (also released in 1992) but it has character that MR. Baseball lacks, and is much more funny. As well, Joe Mantegna far outpaces Tom Selleck, and the cast in general is much stronger. Joe Mantegna plays his character well; he adds a dimension to Sparky Smith that I'm sure wouldn't seem possible if I had read the script in advance. But he doesn't outshine the rest of the cast. This cast is made up of mostly no name actors, but they all do really well with a script that is hardly stunning. They create magic out of cornmeal. Especially Milo, who never ceases to make me laugh. All in all, don't watch this film for enlightenment, nor for high-calibre film-making. Watch it as brain-candy. If you don't take it seriously, and simply accept it as a fun and amusing flick, then you won't be able to help yourself! Cheezy but enjoyable, and at times *very* funny. Quality wise it probably deserves a five or six on ten, but considering its enjoyment value I rate it 8/10.
Another one of those baseball movies that appear on movie channels in the middle of summer, "Comrades of Summer" is an enjoyable story. Sparky Smith, the successful player-manager of the Mariners, is released and ends up getting another gig as the coach of the Russian National team. Here, he must band together athletes from other sports. Eventually, somehow, they end up playing in the states in a battle for the pride of both team and manager. It's very predictable, it doesn't feature ridiculously awesome baseball action, and it's not particularly memorable, but it's very much an entertaining baseball film. Don't watch and expect "The Natural" or anything, but watch it like you would "Angels in the Outfield."
This was an average film, nothing special. As a baseball fan, I was
hoping for something a little better. The main problem, to me, was the
lead character being unlikable. Joe Mantegna played manager "Sparky
Smith," and I was surprised on the mouth on him for a made-for-TV
movie, so it must have been for HBO or similar.
"Sparky" is a fish-out-of-water culturally, trying to make it with baseball in Russia after losing his managerial job with the Seattle Mariners. With the story about making a bunch of players out of a diverse group of athletes and then coming back to the States to play, you know it's going to have a predictable ending. The question is, how much fun can the viewer have along the way watching how the team develops. Frankly, I didn't have that much fun because of Mantegna's character.
It reminded me too much of Tom Selleck's role as the obnoxious American ballplayer trying to cope in Japan. I didn't him, either. I guess I am sentimental guy, preferring the nice guys like "Roy Hobbs" of "The Natural."
Overly simplistic by the books plot sinks what could have been a winner. Joe Mantegna plays way out of character, but is still alright as the manager of a misfit Russian baseball team. Think Billy Bob Thornton in "Bad News Bears". The Russian accents are hard to understand, and some of the supposed humor is lost in translation. The romantic sub plot is weak, and the baseball games are really staged. Michael Lerner does a pretty good George Steinbrenner imitation, and Mark Rolston is totally wasted behind his accent. This is watchable, but lacks credibility. As far as comedy, there are a couple of chuckles, but that's about it. - MERK
One small quote made me laugh until I cried! it brought tears to my eyes
I think it will be the most memorable part in the entire show... That
Mitchell Davies is one HECK of an actor!
"It's in Sparkey's Manual"
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