In Everyone’s Hero, Yankee Irving (Jake T. Austin) is the worst baseball player in his sandlot in 1932 New York City. But his dad (Mandy Patinkin), a janitor at Yankee Stadium, tells him to “always keep swinging” – not just in baseball, but in life. Later, Yankee discovers a magical talking baseball named Screwie (Rob Reiner) in his sandlot. Then news breaks that Yankees star Babe Ruth’s beloved bat Darlin’ (Whoopi Goldberg) is stolen, and Yankee's father is fired as a result. Yankee then vows to find Darlin’ (with Screwie reluctantly in tow) and return her to Babe Ruth before the Yankees lose the final game of the World Series (and also to get his dad’s job back).
Okay: one con, one pro…
• Con: Reiner delivers Screwie’s dialogue with all the timing of an ancient Catskills comic, and I’ve heard enough of Goldberg’s “sassy” acting to last me a lifetime. For me, both performances wore thin by the film’s end.
• Pro: The animation by IDT Entertainment (now Starz Media) is very well done – using facial expressions, depth perception, and shadowing worthy of a Pixar film.
Everyone’s Hero does have a bit of a Finding Nemo aftertaste (a journey to bring someone back, finding strength from within, “Always keep swinging” vs. “Just keep swimming”), but in the end it was fun to watch with my son. It’s a film for any dad who’s a fan of baseball nostalgia and who wasn’t an All-Star as a kid. That being said, it does have an ending that’s ridiculous for adult viewers — but probably a dream come true for any kid who loves baseball.
I guess calling it “ridiculous” is a bit subjective; the film does feature a talking ball and bat.
Coda: This was the last film for Christopher Reeve (co-director) and his wife, Dana (exec producer).
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5).
Will your kids like it?If they like baseball, yes. And even if they don’t, they would still probably enjoy the antics and adventures of Yankee, Screwie, and Darlin’ (isn’t that my lawyer’s firm?).
Will your FilmMother like it?I would think she’d find it endearing, at least for its message of never giving up – I mean, “just keep swimming” – I mean, “always keep swinging.”
* Directors: Colin Brady, Christopher Reeve, Dan St. Pierre
* Screenwriters: Robert Kurtz, Jeff Hand
* Stars: Rob Reiner, William H. Macy, Whoopi Goldberg, Jake T. Austin, Robert Wagner, Forest Whitaker, Raven-Symone, Dana Reeve, Mandy Patinkin, Joe Torre
* MPAA Rating: G
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