JB Bernstein's career as a sports agent is on the wane when he comes up with an idea from out of left field. JB (Hamm) enlists former baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin) to join him on a trip to India to find the fastest cricket pitcher in the land. As part of a reality show called "Million Dollar Arm," JB and Ray recruit Dinesh (Madhur Mittal, "Slumdog Millionaire") and Rinku (Suraj Sharma, "Life of Pi") to come with them back to America to compete for contracts in the major leagues. Then JB hires Tom House (Bill Paxton) to train Dinesh and Rinku for their big try-outs.
Add in some fish-out-of-water comedy (Alan Arkin being cranky in India, for example), a beautiful and charming neighbor played by Lake Bell ("In A World..."), and plenty of nay-sayers, and you've got what could be a charming Disney movie. Plus, Jon Hamm attempting yoga is worth the price of admission.
"Million Dollar Arm" was written by Thomas McCarthy, the same fellow who penned "The Station Agent," "Up," and "Win Win," which is a strange mix of heartfelt comedies with a soupçon of sportiness. Director Craig Gillespie was behind the odd miss "Mr. Woodcock," but he also directed the Ryan Gosling indie "Lars and the Real Girl" and several episodes of "United States of Tara." What we're saying is this is a real mixed bag, especially once you mix in some "wacky" race-based humor and life lessons.
"Million Dollar Arm" is actually based on a true story. JB really is a sports agent, and Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh actually play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, it is unlikely that JB actually has an adorable and inspirational neighbor who looks like Lake Bell.
"Million Dollar Arm" comes out swinging on May 16, 2014.