Based on a true story of two underdog sportsmen – Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, Craig Gillespie’s Million Dollar Arm is an undeniably feel-good sports drama. There is emotion, action and of course, a lot of clichés.
J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) is a swanky, once-successful, sports agent from Los Angeles. As a last effort to save his sinking career, Bernstein along with his partner Ash (Aasif Mandvi), stumbles upon an idea of a reality show competition called "Million Dollar Arm". Thanks to a game of cricket that his partner Ash made him watch on TV. Consequently, with an aim to find baseball’s next pitching ace, Bernstein travels all the way to India.
Trust Hollywood to showcase India, especially Mumbai! You are bombarded with the same old shots. There are odd montages of slums, traffic, crowded streets and the Worli Sea Link. John Hamm as J. B. Bernstein looks perfectly groomed in almost all the scenes, even in the balmy Indian weather. Don’t be surprised, when he comments "All Indians love cricket."
Yet, it is delightful to watch the transition of the boys. Dinesh (Madhur Mittal from Slumdog Millionaire) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma from Life of Pi) are flawless in their performances. Their awkward timidity towards the American lifestyle, is funny yet emotionally charged. The plots gets contemplative at certain parts, but the comic relief from Alan Arkin as the baseball scout Ray and Pitobash Tripathy as Deepesh Solanki keeps the movie light-hearted. Lake Bell who plays the cute medical student-next-door Brenda, is delightfully funny.
The music, composed by two-time Academy Award winning composer A.R. Rahman, is in sync with the movie. However, if you are expecting some celebratory soundscapes by the maestro, Million Dollar Arm isn’t the movie.
Craig Gillespie’s whose previous work includes Lars And the Real Girl and Fright Night, gave an almost-perfect shot on sports drama with Million Dollar Arm. But it is not a spectacular sports drama movie. It will tug at the heartstrings, but unfortunately it won’t last.
Why should you watch the film?
If you are a fan of die-hard inspirational sports movie, Million Dollar Arm may disappoint you. But, if you are looking forward for a relaxed sports drama movie, this is it.
Million Dollar Arm will make you feel good and happy. A well-crafted story of two sportsmen making it big. Time to pull out those tissues. We all love a little bit of emotional drama, don’t we?