Mr. Baseball (1992) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sensuality and language
Running Time: 108 min.
Cast: Tom Selleck, Ken Takakura, Aya Takanashi, Dennis Haysbert, Toshi Shioya
Director: Fred Schepisi
Screenplay: Gary Ross, Kevin Wade, Monte Merrick
Review published December 3, 1998
Tom Selleck (Runaway, Concrete Cowboys) plays a veteran American big leaguer past his prime who is traded to a team in Japan called the Dragons. He's rebellious and conceited, having trouble adjusting to the Japanese style of baseball and customs on and off the field. He finds himself in hot water with the coach and the press time and time again but the coach and translator do what they can to assist his assimilation, while a romance with a young Japanese advertising professional helps him see there's a lot to like in Japan.
Mr. Baseball is a somewhat hokey, somewhat predictable, but irresistibly likeable comedy with Selleck perfect in the title role. The entire supporting cast is quite good as well, and the directing is surprisingly competent, making what is a rather average script workable. Mr. Baseball isn't a groundbreaking flick by any stretch and probably won't be listed when running down classic baseball films. There is a pleasant nature to the film, and there is a comfort in its predictability because we want everything to happen according to convention.
©1998 Vince Leo