Right on target

Jon Hamm as JB Bernstein in MILLION DOLLAR ARM.
Jon Hamm as JB Bernstein in MILLION DOLLAR ARM.

If Jerry Maguire and Slumdog Millionaire gave birth to an impossibly cute love child, it would look something like Million Dollar Arm.

Based on an incredible true story, Craig Gillespie’s unapologetically feel-good sports drama follows a down-on-his-luck agent, who attempts to introduce baseball to India via an outlandish rags-to-riches competition.

Screenwriter Tom McCarthy fashions an armful of well-worn cliches into an irresistibly sweet and charming tale of triumph against adversity.

Sports agent JB Bernstein (Hamm) and business partner Ash Vasudevan (Aasif Mandvi) are on the brink of financial ruin. They need to find fresh talent.

Unfortunately, home-grown sports stars are thin on the ground and overseas audiences are nuts about cricket, a sport which JB abhors.

Late one night, JB has a brainwave: a competition to bring two bowlers from India to America to challenge for a lucrative Major League Baseball contract.

Million Dollar Arm is a polished amalgamation of countless other sports movies that compel us to root for the underdog.

Familiarity breeds delight in Gillespie’s film, relying on a strong ensemble cast to milk laughter and tears when it seems the script will strike out.