Movie Review: “Home Run” is, at best, a ground rule double

2starsThe first rule of any baseball movie is that the guys cast to star in it have to look like they can play. And in “Home Run,” Scott Elrod had the build, the swagger and the sweet swing of a big leaguer. That makes him and this thin tale of twelve step redemption credible and watchable, if nothing else.
Elrod, a character actor who played a hunk hired to perform the fake film script in “Argo,” is a big league slugger with alcohol problems and daddy issues.
The booze we can see in his everyday routine, dumping out the soft drink, filling the cup with vodka. And the daddy problems we’re shown in a prologue, when a young Cory Brand had to “be a man” and take fastballs from his drunken, abusive father.
It all blows up that day he’s drunkenly called out after hitting what he thought was an inside-the-park home run. The tirade he tosses injures a batboy, his own nephew, it turns out, and earns him an eight week suspension.
That forces his agent (Vivica A. Fox, terrific) to get creative. She packs him off to his hometown. But another screwup — a DUI — adds to the mess.
“Why don ‘t you just SHOOT Bambi, next time?” she wants to know.
Now, he’s got to go to 12 step “Celebrate Recovery” meetings. And he has to coach his brother’s Little League team.
There’s a disapproving sister-in-law (Nicole Leigh), a few star struck Little League parents, and a fellow coach (Dorian Brown) who happens to have been Cory’s high school sweetheart.
And she has a son (Charles Henry Wyson) in need of a father figure.
“Home Run” is an utterly conventional faith-based film built around Cory’s coming to grips with his demons, making amends for his wrongs and finding religion. The cast does what it can to enliven  that, but the twelve step meetings are too familiar to play as fresh and the film’s leaden pace only makes us wonder how long it will be before we hear “The Serenity Prayer.”
You know it, I know, and if you’ve ever seen a movie about recovery, you can recite it from memory.
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,” etc.
The trouble with that over-familiarity is it robs Cory’s journey of any emotional punch it might pack. The script lacks on-the-field drama as well, with Cory have no real nuggets of wisdom to teach the kids about America’s Passtime.
But the scenes between Elrod and Fox crackle, and the movie never goes far wrong so long as Cory’s going wrong — on and off the field. It’s too bad the muted “Home Run” didn’t take its own advice about being daring and inventive.
“Nothing great happens when you hold back.”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some mature thematic material
Cast: Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Vivica A. Fox
Credits: Directed David Boyd, written by Brian Brightly, , Candace Lee, Melanie Wistar,Eric Newman . A Samuel L. Goldwyn release.
Running time: 1:33

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9 Responses to Movie Review: “Home Run” is, at best, a ground rule double

  1. Rachelle says:

    Excellent movie. We have so many celebrate recoveries here in the rogue valley area. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. I highly recommend getting in the program it will not be a waste of time.

  2. Amanda says:

    I had the privilege to pre-view this movie through my church Celebrate Recovery program. It is an amazing movie! It has something for everyone! I plan on seeing it with my family and again with my fellow 12-step friends this weekend! Everybody who sees this movie should expect to be changed by it.

  3. ryan says:

    There is a significant need being met by those who have inspired Home Run. Given the film’s budget, many have had to make sacrifices to bring its story to the theaters. Belief, which grows from that first invitation to Celebrate Recovery, brings the participants to see what matters most. And with that perspective, the healing takes shape and day-to-day living is coupled with hopeful thinking for those who keep following Jesus! I see the percentage in it that, in the end, all those sacrifices will be rewarded in awesome ways.
    Thank you, Movie Nation, for this chance to share

  4. Charles says:

    Mr. Moore
    I have seen the movie several times. I will admit that I’m not a so called BIG named Film Critic as yourself. But this is the first time that I have heard of you. It is very evident that you know very little about recovery. Might I suggest that you go to Saddle Back Church and learn about Celebrate Recovery and I know that it will change your life as well? It’s not something that you can truly do on your own. I feel that the movie is true to life for a lot of people. In one of my micro screenings I had one person get up and walk out because it hit to close to their own life. It’s about letting people know that there is HOPE for change for everyone. I will say that I do wish that the movie had a little more about other addictions. I do know that the movie has HIT home for a lot of people already.
    Thank you.

    • Thanks. Always happy to hear from those so wrapped up in the buzzwords and mechanics of recovery that they miss the fact the movie about said subject pretty much sucks. And might I suggest you get out more and maybe see the 20-30 other movies on this very same subject that actually work.

  5. Greg anderson says:

    Wow Roger at the risk of using any “buzzwords” may it be that you are a little affected by the content of this movie. Just take a look a why you may be a little angry at such a suggestion above. Most of us who seek answers to life issues of hurts, hangups, and habits have a good understanding that we won’t find anything we all truly seek in shoot em up, light porn, sexist movies. Truth is most of us have already tried that. Give Christ a chance! We will be saving a seat for you. Blessings

    • People in recovery drive people not in recovery a little batty with their Kool-Aid consumption. Good luck, but seriously, it’s the movie, not the “process” this is about. Most people get that. And there are scores of movies about recovery that were/are better than this one. Celebrate that.

  6. Denise says:

    Ben a man??

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