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Recommended age 8-18
90 minutes
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MILLION DOLLAR ARM cover image Click to play video trailer
Wonderfully played! This film has a well thought-out story with genuine interaction between the actors and their characters. Based on a true story, a sports agent from America, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) seeks to find a fast armed cricket pitcher in India for a reality show called, "Million Dollar Arm." His goal, to teach them the game of baseball and get them signed to a major league baseball team. However, JB may have gambled more than he thought.

The natural relationship and connections with these actors are what sparks the charm in this film. Seeing JB handle the streets of India or entering an elevator with Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh Patelv (Madhur Mittal) is what builds this film's character. The actors look and act their roles. During the credits we see a short video and pictures of the real Rinku, Dinesh and JB. The actors' looks sell the illusion. Even the real JB Bernstein, who was present during shooting, says, "He had several out-of-body moments watching Hamm recreate his life. It was spooky, almost like reliving the moment," he admits. This made my reaction stronger.

The cinematography is beautiful! This film captures the crowded streets and beautiful culture of India against the 21st century concrete jungle of L.A. Once these two worlds are established, it makes the collision on these characters even bigger.

My favorite scene is when Pitobash gives Rinku and Dinesh a pep talk. Think of this as the last stand speech. Saying, "Go out there and make our country proud." The irony of this is how a little Indian man has a huge voice.

My favorite character is Amit (Pitobash), he helps JB in document Rinku and Dinesh's journey. He loves baseball and hopes to become a coach one day. I admire how enthusiastic he is. The first time we see him he's up and ready to work - a little ball of fire with a huge heart.

The moral of the story is, "Don't put business in front of what's right." JB worries too much about another client and loses track on his main project. He needs to make it fun for Rinku and Dinesh.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 9- through 18-year-olds. There is tiny bit of bad language and some gross scenes that younger kids may not want to see, but this is a film that's well worth a view.

Reviewed by Keefer. C. Blakeslee, Age 13, KIDS FIRST, Film Critic

Million Dollar Arm tells the true story of a sports agent and three young men from small villages in India as they make baseball history. Jon Hamm plays a sports agent named JB whose business is teetering on either making it big or failing completely. When his big plan of managing a major league NFL player falls through, all seems lost. That is until one night when he finds himself watching Indian cricket with his friend and gets a brilliant idea. Cricket is such a huge sport in India. He wondered what would happen if he found two cricket players, brought them to America and trained them for major league baseball. His idea seemed foolproof, he would make baseball history by recruiting the first Indian players plus, he would get an entirely new following of Indian fans. Once JB finds the boys he is looking for, it becomes less about business, and more about friendship.

I found this film very pleasing. I didn't know much about it and wasn't quite sure what to expect but, once I got into it, I was very touched. The cinematography is very well executed and, during the portion of the film that is shot in India, the landscape and culture are captured beautifully. Even the slums and run down villages are filmed in a way that makes you feel as if you are under the sweltering heat of the sun or in the chaotic mix of vendors and civilians on the crowded streets. The music in this film is fantastic. It features the essence of Indian music with a twist of modern American pop, making it perfect for this multicultural film.

My favorite character is Amit played by Pitobash. He is recruited early on in the film, almost by accident, to be an assistant and translator for JB. He is one of the funniest characters because he is so polite and hospitable to JB and his recruiting team but he often gets himself into funny situations while trying to accommodate everyone. In one scene, Alan Arkin's character Ray says something along the lines of "...this guy has juice" as a way to express the potential he saw in a player. However, Amit overhears this and immediately goes sprinting away to find his boss some juice to drink. It is quite hilarious. My favorite scene is when Amit, Rinku and Dinesh come to America for the first time. They have spent their entire lives in small villages in India so you can imagine their adjustment to the extravagant LA lifestyle JB is living. There is such a funny scene when they all get into an elevator for the first time and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) is so impressed by its motion sensors that he repeatedly sticks his hand in between the doors right as they close just to see the "magic" of them automatically opening again.

I was very touched by this film. Not only does it show the historical achievement of the first Indian major league baseball players but, it also made me laugh out loud and tugged on my heart strings. JB starts out viewing the boys as his project, a way to make a lot of money and propel himself forward in the sports industry, but soon he realizes that they are so much more than just a paycheck. As he lets his defensiveness down, he sees how kind, funny and talented they each are and an unforgettable bond is formed between them. Because of this, I give the film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Million Dollar Arm hits a homerun into theaters on May 16th so be sure to check it out at a theater near you!

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A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball. Starring Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Alan Arkin.
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