Three strikes, "Everyone's Hero" is out

Sept. 19, 2006, midnight | By Jason Meer | 17 years, 5 months ago

Movie has little to offer fans of baseball realism

The story behind "Everyone's Hero" is hard to top. Directed by the late Christopher Reeve, the film was originally planned to be an animated pet project for his son Will, with wife Dana Reeve at the helm as a prominent voice actress. But with the deaths of both of parents in the past two years, it is too bad that the last Reeve family project has so little to offer. Uneven animation and a ridiculous storyline unfortunately bring down this potential home run of a movie at the warning track.

The movie chronicles the adventures and misadventures of fictional protagonist Yankee Irving (voiced by Jake Austin), a huge 1930s Yankees fan whose father works as the team's janitor. One day, when Yankee is left to watch the clubhouse while his dad packs up for the night, he witnesses the theft of Babe Ruth's lucky bat, Darlin', by Chicago Cubs pitcher Lefty Maginnis (voiced by William H. Macy). Unfortunately, the Yankees blame Yankee's father, who loses his job. In order to reclaim his father's job and honor, Yankee steals away in pursuit of Maginnis with the help of sidekick Screwie (voiced by Rob Reiner), a crotchety baseball Yankee finds at the neighborhood sandlot.

Wait a minute. A talking baseball? Sure it is a kids movie, but "Everyone's Hero" is so chock full of mythical events that it has no credibility. If the plot of "Rookie of the Year," a famous children's baseball movie in which a teenager's freak broken arm gives him a major-league advantage, sounded ridiculous, Reeve's final effort is ridiculous on steroids.

Equally ludicrous is the poor quality of the movie's CGI work. The realistic animation genre made famous by Pixar is getting trite, especially when done poorly. Yankee's running sequences often appear blurry, something that is unacceptable in a multi-million dollar venture. In fact, the only thing the animators got truly right was how horrendously ugly Babe Ruth was.

But what the movie will do well is score a few runs with its young fans. Reiner's sardonic wit as Screwie works well against the charm of Darlin' the Bat (Whoopi Goldberg), which makes two anthropomorphic pieces of baseball equipment to date. (Heck, it might have even been worth it to make the gloves and the bases chime in at this rate.) Child favorite Robin Williams even chimes in to make an uncredited cameo as the conniving Cubs owner who forces Maginnis into the robbery. William's trademark evil laugh will make a few kids tremble, but the part was well-written for his outlandish behavior. Williams is only upstaged in the cameo carousel by current Yankee manager Joe Torre, who voices his 1930's counterpart with deadpan realism.

Sports movies are all too often hit or miss in their ability to capture fans, and "Everyone's Hero" is no exception. Though some G-rated movies can appeal to all audiences, in the case of "Everyone's Hero," the rating is indicative of a lack of depth that will probably inhibit the movie from scoring with anyone above the age of seven. Apart from a few enjoyable bits of voice acting, "Everyone's Hero" is sure to strike out.

"Everyone's Hero" (87 minutes) is playing at area theaters and rated G.

Jason Meer. Jason Meer is a RISING SENIOR who needs to get more sleep. When awake, he finds time to facebook, watch SportsCenter and World Poker Tour, and listen to varied musicians from Chamillionaire to Sigur Ros to Kelly Clarkson. If you see a red-haired guy walking … More »

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