Rated: PG Reviewed by: Chris Release date: July 7, 1993 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Daniel Stern directs this PG-rated comedy about baseball as if he loves the game and wants everyone who sees his film to feel the same way.
Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas) plays baseball on his Little League team, even though he doesn't play very well. That is, until he breaks his arm going out for a fly ball. Once the cast is off, the tendons in his arm heal tighter than they should have and he's able to throw 100 mile an hour fast balls.
Henry's an energetic, animated and somewhat nerdy 12 year old who lives with his single mother (Amy Morton) in a Chicago suburb. When his mom teats Henry and his two best friends to a day at the ball park to watch the Chicago Cubs, Henry throws back a ball that's been hit into the bleachers and the ball club can't believe any mere mortal can throw like that. The Cubs manager (Dan Hedaya) signs Henry up to boost attendance and as a last ditch effort to save the club from bankruptcy.
The first time Henry walks onto Wrigley Field's pitcher's mound wearing the Cubs uniform and hearing the screaming fans, he is scared stiff. He may have a dynamite fast ball, but he hasn't any control over where it ends up. So, the coach asks Chet Steadman (Gary Busey, who is much more affable than usual, in fact, he's almost cuddly) to give the kid some pointers. Steadman, a one-time star pitcher for the Cubs until he had surgery, at first resents Henry taking over the spotlight, but quickly warms up to him.
To add to the fun, John Candy plays a manic announcer and Stern does double duty as a pitching coach who has been bonked on the head by wild pitches once too often.
The story is unbelievable, but the magic of a young kid living out his dream of playing for the big leagues works so well, it doesn't matter.
The mother and son relationship is realistic and loving and the kids, not the best looking, most athletic or most popular in school, can be related to by most kids who share the same insecurities growing up. Some real baseball stars show up in cameo spots to lend authenticity.
The audience, made up mostly of adolescents and their parents, laughed and clapped and cheered for this little gem, but you don't have to be a baseball fan or a kid to really like this film. It's Great fun.
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