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ROOKIE, THE

SYNOPSIS:
As a youngster Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) possessed the talent but was denied the chance to become a professional baseball player. Now a middle aged science teacher and coach of the hopeless Big Lake High school team in Texas, Morris's ambition is rekindled. Discovering that he can still pitch at close to 100mph, Morris decides to try out as a rookie in an attempt to make it in the Major League.


Review by Richard Kuipers:
The corn Kevin Costner cut down to build his baseball diamond in Field of Dreams has been used to make The Rookie. Every stock element from every film about the triumph of an underdog team/player/coach has been rolled up in this true story of baseball pitcher Jim Morris who entered the Major League while in his 40s.

There's the veteran dreamer who finally gets his big break, the father who didn't give his son a chance (played here by Brian Cox) the young easy beats who rise above themselves and gain self-respect under the guidance of an inspirational coach and the wife and kids who wait patiently on the sidelines while dad's childhood flashes before their eyes. You can tick off the rest as you go. Watchable without reaching any great heights it does boast likeable stars in Quaid and Rachel Griffiths, who gives this particular Supportive Yet Worried wife role more substance than it deserves.

The Rookie is so determined to be uplifting, inspiring and good-natured it's a hard film to dislike, though it's those relentlessly applied qualities that prevent it from being taken to the heart in the manner of Bull Durham or Field of Dreams. When it comes to the game itself, watching Harvey Keitel's amphetamine-fuelled frenzy as his big baseball bet goes belly up in Bad Lieutenant is as about as close as I like to go. The Rookie didn't convert me but at least impressed as a perfectly adequate example of the sports film formula.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER SOUNDTRACK

ROOKIE, THE (G)
(US)

CAST: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Beth Grant, Angus T. Jones, Brian Cox

PRODUCER: Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray, Mark Johnson

DIRECTOR: John Lee Hancock

SCRIPT: Mike Rich

CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Schwartzman

EDITOR: Eric L. Beason

MUSIC: Carter Burwell

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Barry Robison

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Brisbae: October 31, 2002; Other states: March 27, 2003

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE

VIDEO RELEASE: May 14, 2003 (Also on DVD)







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