The Rookie: rated G for “we move as a family.” Big Daddy (Brian Cox) is a military man who moved the family across America with no regard for little Jimmy’s baseball dreams. Director John Lee Hancock may make dubious use of surrealist flourishes (here, nuns and rose petals on a windy desert landscape) though he’s particularly adept at capturing the naturalism of an older Jimmy’s trip to the Major Leagues. Here’s a movie with a big heart that goes light on the schmaltz. Spirituality is negotiated via two or three references to St. Rita, patron saint of impossible dreams. The Rookie: rated G for “if you don’t have dreams, you don’t have anything.” Thus big Jimmy (Dennis Quaid) gives up high school coaching for one more try at the Majors. Quaid, Hancock and screenwriter Mike Rich take great pains to keep Jimmy’s Daddy Complex on the down low; resentment takes the shape of shuffling feet, awkward politeness and a child’s proud smile. The Rookie: rated G for “there are more important things in life than baseball.” Hancock does wonderful things with Jimmy’s little son, a next-generation dreamer that bears witness to his father’s growing emotional distance. However unhysterical the film may be when focusing on a family’s many pressure points, these nuances are compromised by all the time spent on the baseball field. Lest you expect torn ligaments or other forms of bodily harm, remember the film’s rating. The Rookie: rated G for gooey godly wholesomeness. May cause drowsiness.
- John Lee Hancock
- Mike Rich
- Dennis Quaid, J.D. Evermore, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Angus T. Jones, Rick Gonzalez, Beth Grant, Brian Cox
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