Stan Ross was a baseball superstar who turned his back on the game years ago when he finally hit 3,000 hits. Years later, he's now a successful, self-made entrepreneur whose many businesses revolve around his title: Mr. 3000. But a clerical error has proven that Stan is just short three hits of his spectacular hit record. Now, with time on his side and the potential to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Stan must return back to the game and get back his title. But things have changed with age, and as Stan finds out, it's not too easy to get back into the game when he hasn't played for years, and he's nearing 50. Written by
Bernie Mac is what makes you watch Charles Stone III's "Mr. 3000". Mac is totally funny and has a great screen presence. No doubt this is a star vehicle for Mac, who really benefits from a surprising screenplay by Eric Champnella, Keith Mitchell, and Howard Gould. Their "Mr. 3000" is funny, edgy, and appropriately sentimental. Bernie Mac plays Stan Ross, a great Major League hitter, and also a major league arrogant jerk. Upon reaching his 3000th hit and securing his place in the Hall of Fame, Stan retires leaving his team in a lurch just before the playoffs. Stan parlays his "Mr. 3000" title into a successful business. However, 9 years later when Stan is on the verge of possible sports immortality with an induction into the Hall of Fame, a statistical error reveals that Stan Ross, "Mr. 3000", is really Stan Ross "Mr. 2997". Stan is shy 3 hits-- pretty much killing any chance of a trip to Cooperstown. So at nearly 50 years old, Stan decides to make a comeback. Seeing the potential of increased ticket sales by his return, his old team welcomes him back. Well, at least the owners do. How difficult would it be to get 3 more hits? Well, that is some of the movie.
Bernie Mac has this charm about him that even when playing a world class arrogant jerk, he is still likable. That is amazing. However, in the evolution of the story by Champnella, Mitchell, and Gould, Stan's (Mac's) introspection of the man he was in his youth is effective and at times poignant. Mac as Stan is smart and gradually sees the impact of selfishness on his teammates in the past and present, and with his old flame Mo (a wonderful and gorgeous Angela Bassett). He sees much of his young self in superstar hitter T-Rex (a commanding Brian J. White). Consequently Stan gives T-Rex a wake up call. T-Rex could end up being a lone jerk like Stan, or he could really make a profound difference by being a leader, and inspire his teammates. This is one of the great touches of the "Mr. 3000". Another great touch is Michael Rispoli as Stan's one loyal friend, Boca, who finally points out to Stan that he loves him, because he can always count on Stan to do what is right for Stan, regardless of anyone else. At the heart of the movie is the amazing Angela Bassett as Mo. She knows that Stan is a jerk and she still loves him. She also is sad and angry that Stan doesn't just grow up, knock it off, and be the great man that he deserves to be.
The end really took me by surprise-- I did not expect it. Without giving anything away, everything works out sometimes in the most unsuspecting ways.
Bernie Mac is wonderful here. "Mr. 3000" is that cool fantasy movie where one gets to atone and correct for being young and stupid. And I guess we all continue to do this is some way or fashion. "Mr. 3000" also does this with a sense of humor. This is a great thing.
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