'Slumdog McGuire' comes to mind

17:00, Jun 20 2014
Million Dollar Arm
GAME-CHANGER: From left, Madhur Mittal, Suraj Sharma, Jon Hamm and Pitobash in Million Dollar Arm, based on the true story of an American sports agent who poaches Indian cricketers to play baseball in the United States.


Directed by Craig Gillespie

Reviewed by Graeme Tuckett.

I'm sure that someone else must have thought of calling Million Dollar Arm "Slumdog McGuire" by now. But I try to avoid seeing other film reviews before I've written mine, and I can't be bothered Googling to find out.

But, when I've seen a film about a American sports agent, who loses his client base through overweening cockiness, who then travels to India to unearth a couple of potential sports stars...Slumdog McGuire just sums it up all too neatly. Original or not, I'm having it.

Jon Hamm (Mad Men) is agent JB Bernstein. In 2008 Bernstein, inspired while switching channels between Britain's Got Talentand a cricket match, staged a reality TV contest across India to find new baseball pitchers for the American market. The filmtakes some outrageous liberties with the facts, but emerges as a likeable enough fish-out-of-water yarn, first as Hamm travels through India, and then as the two winners try to make their way in America.

Alan Arkin and Lake Bell both contribute lovely support work, Hamm does his best B-team Clooney, and young stars Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) and Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire) work up some good chemistry. It doesn't have the fizz and slyness we might expect of a script from Tom McCarthy(The Station Agent, Win Win) but there is much on screen to enjoy about Million Dollar Arm. Recommended.


The Dominion Post