4 August 2007 | ccthemovieman-1
'Sparky' Sputters In This So-So Baseball Flick
This was an average film, nothing special. As a baseball fan, I was hoping for something a little better. The main problem, to me, was the lead character being unlikable. Joe Mantegna played manager "Sparky Smith," and I was surprised on the mouth on him for a made-for-TV movie, so it must have been for HBO or similar.
"Sparky" is a fish-out-of-water culturally, trying to make it with baseball in Russia after losing his managerial job with the Seattle Mariners. With the story about making a bunch of players out of a diverse group of athletes and then coming back to the States to play, you know it's going to have a predictable ending. The question is, how much fun can the viewer have along the way watching how the team develops. Frankly, I didn't have that much fun because of Mantegna's character.
It reminded me too much of Tom Selleck's role as the obnoxious American ballplayer trying to cope in Japan. I didn't him, either. I guess I am sentimental guy, preferring the nice guys like "Roy Hobbs" of "The Natural."