31 May 2004 | jescci
Suffers from same problems almost all baseball movies do
Actors almost never look like players. They're too small, they don't have the rhythm, the speed, the power, the coordinations that athletes do in their prime. It's almost always embarrassing for the actor to pretend that he does.
Having said that, Lang does a credible job in his portrayal of Ruth. He seems to have some athletic skill and he seems to have studied very carefully Ruth's stance and swing and stride. At those moments, he's as believable as any actor who has played the part.
Where his portrayal suffers is in the scenes off the field. Lang is not as big or bear-like as Ruth. How many men are? He tries to capture Ruth's gregariousness and talented actor that he is, comes close, but not close enough for me.
For the most part the film-makers cast actors small of stature to make Lang's Ruth appear bigger and more imposing. But not in every scene, which a unforgivably dumb as periodically then Lang looks small, the spell is broken and we forget to suspend disbelief.
Another major flaw: Lang's prosthetic nose (Ruth had an odd, fleshy nose) is gray in color and obvious. Also obvious are the shoulder pads beneath his uniform.
We've seen the story before in books and in movies. Little if anything is new here. Just the same, any baseball fan, certainly any Ruth fan will find the film compelling enough to sit thru, but I'm still waiting for someone to tell this legendary figure's story right from beginning to end. It's a problem of casting. It would probably require locating another Babe Ruth. Can't count on someone like that coming along any time soon.