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The Rookie Review

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A high school chemistry teacher's students make him promise that if they achieve a seemingly impossible goal, he will in turn try out for a Major League baseball team, a challenge which results in his becoming the oldest 'rookie' in pro sport.

★★★★★

Yes, we know this sounds like a poor prospect here. A feel-good story that would be preposterous if not true, it's full of baseball and it stars Dennis Quaid, who doesn't 'open' pictures although he is perennially liked. But it's so very well done.

Director Hancock's (screenwriter of A Perfect World) atmospheric charmer is not just about an inspirational small town Texas guy who gets a second chance, but also the kids with dim expectations who achieve meaningful goals through their own commitment to and support of each other.

Although Morris' schoolboy team rounds up the usual suspects (the fumbler, the fatty, the cheeky Latino), the film doesn't patronise them. Similarly, Griffiths' role as the wife defies stand-by-your man stereotype, and if Morris' rapprochement with his impossible-to-please dad (Cox) or his big league stadium debut flirt with cliché, they are realised with lovely grace.

A fine example of heartwarming real-life drama, with performances that ring true and some terrific moments that befit a classic American Dream story.