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Movie review: Home Run

Posted 1:05pm on Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013

PG-13 (mature thematic material); 93 min.

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 had 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.

Scott Elrod, a character actor who played a hunk hired to perform the fake film script in Argo, is Cory, a big-league slugger with alcohol problems and daddy issues, in Home Run.

The booze we can see in his everyday routine — dumping out the soft drink, filling the cup with vodka. And the daddy problems we're shown in a prologue, when a young Cory Brand had to “be a man” and take fastballs from his drunken, abusive father.

It all blows up that 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 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.

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 trouble with that over-familiarity 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 . It’s too bad the muted “Home Run” didn't take its own advice about being daring and inventive: “Nothing great happens when you hold back.”

— Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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