The first rule of any baseball movie is that the guys cast to star in it have to look like they can play. And in "Home Run," Scott Elrod has the build, the swagger and the sweet swing of a big leaguer. That makes him and this thin tale of 12-step redemption credible and watchable, if nothing else.
Elrod, a character actor who played a hunk hired to perform the fake film script in "Argo," here is a big-league slugger with alcohol problems and daddy issues.
It all blows up the day Cory's drunkenly called out after hitting what he thought was an inside-the-park home run. The tirade he tosses injures a batboy his own nephew, it turns out and earns him an eight-week suspension.
That forces his agent (Vivica A. Fox, terrific) to get creative. She packs him off to his hometown. But another screw-up a DUI adds to the mess.
Now he's got to go to 12-step "Celebrate Recovery" meetings. And he has to coach his brother's Little League team.
There's a disapproving sister-in-law (Nicole Leigh), a few star-struck Little League parents, and a fellow coach (Dorian Brown) who happens to have been Cory's high school sweetheart. And she has a son (Charles Henry Wyson) in need of a father figure.
"Home Run" is an utterly conventional, faith-based film built around Cory's coming to grips with his demons, making amends for his wrongs and finding religion. The cast does what it can to enliven that, but the 12-step meetings are too familiar.
The trouble with that is it robs Cory's journey of any emotional punch. The script lacks on-the-field drama as well, with Cory having few real nuggets of wisdom to teach the kids about America's Pastime. But the scenes between Elrod and Fox crackle, and the movie never goes far wrong so long as Cory's going wrong on and off the field.
Cast: Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Vivica A. Fox
Director: David Boyd
Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material