Saturday, July 7, 2012

Major League III

Here's a review I wrote for a proposed movie column to the editor of the paper where I now work.

The column wasn't picked up, but I was hired two years later.

Memo to: Warner Brothers Pictures

From: A worried movie-goer

Re: Major League III: Back to the Minors

Your studio is celebrating 75 years of "entertaining the world" with classics such as Dog Day Afternoon, Unforgiven and Casablanca. With such a proud history, who gave the green light to this awful film?

The original Major League, released in 1989, was nothing to get excited about although it did feature a couple of actors (Wesley Snipes, Rene Russo) who've developed into true movie stars.

Nine years later, the roster is indeed second string with Corbin Bensen and Scott Bakula the most recognizable talent.

Writer-director John Warren has managed to make one of the most painful types of films for a moviegoer to sit through - a comedy that is not funny.

Minnesota Twins owner Roger Dorn (Bernsen) recruits over-the-hill minor league picture Gus Cantrell (Bakula) to give up life on the mound to manage a Twins farm team. 'The Buzz' feature the usual collection of wacky movie misfits baseball fans would never find playing professionally. There's a catcher who has trouble throwing the ball back to the mound and a brainy picture who possesses a fastball which easily falls below city speed limits. The laughs continue with a pair of identical twins who beat each other up during games.

Cantrell displays the required managerial skill, surprise, surprise, and turns his team into a disciplined outfit that starts winning games. The Buzz start making some noise in the league standings.

Meanwhile, the parent club is ailing and owner Dorn cooks up the brilliant idea of an exhibition game between the Twins and The Buzz. Razor-sharp Dorn never considers the fact he'd be the laughing-stock of the country if his major league squad comes up short.

Sure enough, The Buzz are on the verge of winning the game when the stadium's power is suddenly, and suspiciously, lost. A rematch is inevitable.

Major League has some big league problems. Warren's script isn't funny. The characters are caricatures. Do viewers really need to see another Japanese character whose poor knowledge of English makes him say silly things?

Bob Uecker returns for another stint as a far-from-witty broadcaster. His on-going presence, devoid of laughs, makes a bad film even worse. An annoying soundtrack of instrumental music grates on the nerves. Good grief, what was B.T.O.'s Taking Care of Business doing amidst this dreck? This team should be out of business.

Warner Brothers, here's to another 75 years without Major League IV. Please.

RATING: 3 strikes and you're out

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