Combustible Celluloid
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With: Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, D.B. Sweeney, Mike McGlone
Written by: John Gatins, based on a book by Daniel Coyle
Directed by: Brian Robbins
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some violence
Running Time: 106
Date: 10/09/2001

Hardball (2001)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Triple Trouble

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I've always said that my two great weaknesses in Hollywood movies are baseball and Christmas. You can pretty much feed me any old glop if it's decorated in diamonds (baseball diamonds) or Christmas trees. This Keanu Reeves picture from last fall proves my point. Reeves plays a lowlife gambler in debt up to his "dude" and ends up coaching a baseball team made up of kids from the projects. Everything unfolds pretty much as you'd expect, and poor Reeves just can't handle some of the emotional dialogue (he's better at stoic roles like Speed and The Matrix), but what can I say? I was absolutely hooked. It helps that Diane Lane co-stars and that the kids are natural spotlight-stealers. Paramount's DVD contains a nice transfer, but the extras didn't do much for me.

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