Main cast: Keanu Reeves (Conor O’Neill), Diane Lane (Elizabeth Wilkes), John Hawkes (Ticky Tobin), DB Sweeney (Matt Hyland), Mike McGlone (Jimmy Fleming), Graham Beckel (Buffy), Michael B Jordan (Jamal), Kristopher Lofton (Clarence), Michael Perkins (Kofi Evans), Brian Reed (Raymond ‘Ray Ray’ Bennet), DeWayne Warren (Jarius ‘G-Baby’ Evans), and Bryan Hearne (Andre Ray Peetes)
Director: Brian Robbins
Hardball is a shameless, cliché-ridden time waster brought to you by the same people who brought you the huge pile of steaming poo called Summer Catch (don’t watch that one, I beg you). I only found that out when I saw the screenwriting credits, and by then, I’m too cheap to run screaming out of the cinema. I mean, the popcorns, the tickets… you know.
Conor O’Neill is a drunkard, wastrel, heavily-in-debt, etc dude who is drafted to teach a team of black kids in some hope of finding cash to pay off his debtors. Actually, this movie is semi-inspired by a real story, if I’m mistaken, of one magazine editor called Daniel Coyle who did the couching stint for more noble purposes. But all I get instead is a movie filled with the usual predictable Disney-like fare. White dude sobers up and gets chick. The kids… well, you want sick kids, poor kids, misunderstood kids, no-confident kids, shy kids, naughty kids, underdog kids, this movie has them all. The story is so predictable, it is the kids’ acting that saves the day. They are cute and not too irritating. Keanu Reeves, well, he’s Keanu Reeves. He tries to emote, and he almost succeeds. He comes off like a giant, walking potted plant that cries sometimes.
Hardball isn’t anything of that sort. I should’ve waited for them to show this on Saturday afternoon TV. They will one day, have no doubt, for this is just the type of movie that has “Distract Your Kids with This While You Laze Around on Saturday” stamped on it. Just how did Keanu Reeves remain so long on the A-list of Hollywood actors? Man, that man just can’t act.