Written by / 5/21/2014 / No comments / , , , ,

DISNEY PRESENTS JON HAMM IN MILLION DOLLAR ARM

year: 2014 rating: ***
During the same weekend that Walter White investigates the possibility of a giant nuclear lizard, Don Draper is having a more subtle problem but not without a load of stress...

In this true story produced by Disney, Jon Hamm’s JB is a sports agent with his own company… one that can barely tread water. Knee-deep in debt and having possibly lost a lucrative athlete to a larger firm, JB gets an epiphany one night...

While reluctantly watching the strange game of Cricket on an India cable station, he realizes that one of the “bowlers,” the name for that sport’s pitchers, could very well crossover to big league American baseball and provide him unique "uptapped" cliental to keep his business going... Or not. 

Setting up JB as a no-nonsense womanizer, after a peripheral introduction to a possible love-interest in the form of a down-to-earth tenant, he travels to India where MILLION DOLLAR ARM, beginning as a fish out of water tale, centers more on two Indian athletes, chosen after fifteen entertaining minutes of nationally televised tryouts, shown through a fun montage sequence where Hamm partners up with Alan Arkin as a drowsy yet wise old agent. Eventually, JB takes the young men back to America where they could, in six months time, become ready for professional baseball tryouts… an extremely long shot.  

The film never gets too corny while centering on the young hopefuls, but it does come close: Learning English way too soon, eating tons of pizza and not completely adhering to Western culture, the mid-section is so Disney-oriented the screen practically grows mouse ears. Thankfully Hamm, the MAD MEN actor who's no stranger to edgy and driven workaholics, keeps things unpredictable as he becomes intentionally lost in the mix, making the two underdogs and their suspenseful attempts to achieve the near-impossible really matter.  
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