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'Million Dollar Arm' hits a double

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Million Dollar Arm

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It is May 16 and the baseball season has been underway for a little while and the summer movie season is just beginning. Neither has been noteworthy yet. The new baseball movie, "Million Dollar Arm" comes out today and it is also the vehicle to see if Jon Hamm can go from TV star to leading man at the movies.

"Million Dollar Arm" is based on a true story. It is about a down on his luck sports agent (Hamm) trying to make it on his own. On a night he happens to be watching a cricket match on television, inspiration strikes! He makes a plan to go to India to see if he can convert a cricket player into a major league pitcher and get a another country to love baseball in the process.

In the world of baseball movies, "Million Dollar Arm" finds itself somewhere in the middle. It in no way ranks as one of the best ever made, but it is far from being a bad one. The supporting cast is what really helps keep you interested.

Suraj Sharma, best known for his role in "Life of Pi" and Madhur Mittal, best known for his role in "Slumdog Millionaire" are the two prospects and you really enjoy their fish out of water story. Alan Arkin plays a baseball scout who adds some good humor to the picture and Lake Bell plays Jon Hamm's love interest and fills in nicely in that role.

Jon Hamm performs adequately in the movie. That's hardly a ringing endorsement for the "Mad Men" actor, but it will have to do. The movie does not suffer nor benefit from his presence. Kevin Costner probably could have done a better job, but obviously this is a genre he has worked too much in already. Another actor could have done just as a good a job as Hamm did. The jury is still out on whether he can make the transition from small screen to the big screen.

Believe it or not, up to now, "Million Dollar Arm" is the best summer movie so far. We're only three weeks in but, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2", "Neighbors" and the newly released "Godzilla" have all fallen short on being quality movies. This latest entry into the baseball film genre may not be the feel good movie of the year, but there is a delightfulness to it that makes it worth seeing. It is rated PG for mild language and some suggestive content.

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