Mr. 3000 (2004)

mr-3000IMDb

Ben
Sports movies are generally hit or miss, although I do have a bit of a soft spot for them, especially ones about my favourite sport, baseball. Mr 3000 is a not an original concept: old grumpy former champion tries to make a comeback, only to find it is not as easy as it once was before eventually persevering. There’s nothing new here, except the performance of Bernie Mac, who gives the role his all and makes this film watchable.

Mac plays Stan Ross. This retired ballplayer has marketed himself as “Mr 3000” due to that being the exact number of hits he got in his major league career for the Milwaukee Brewers. Normally 3000 hits is a lock for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but due to Stan’s prickly demeanor and the way he retired (halfway through a game after getting his 3000th hit), he is overlooked for induction. When a scoring mistake is discovered and it turns out Stan actually only got 2997 hits, he is no longer able to market himself as Mr 3000. Stan decides to re-join the Brewers to get the 3 hits he needs. The Brewers agree to this as they feel it will be a marketing ploy and a way to fill some otherwise empty seats. Stan begins his comeback, only to find that the game is much faster than it was a decade ago… or maybe he’s just slower. Stan eventually becomes a leader, and hopes to show them the team spirit he never played with during his playing career. His newfound humility may also make him more likable to the sports writers he needs to punch his ticket to the Hall of Fame.

There is one good things about this movie, and that’s Bernie Mac. He gives his all and is very funny. Look, this film is incredibly predictable, but I love baseball so I enjoyed myself. I actually enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would, and I think Sally would agree that this film is nowhere near as bad as it could be. Every sports cliche is used, but if you can accept them, you might have more fun that you expected.

If you like baseball or Bernie Mac, you won’t hate this film. It is entertaining enough. Although there are far better sports films out there (The Replacements), or even baseball films (A League of Their Own, The Sandlot), Mr 3000 is not the debacle it could have been.

Rating: C-


Sally
There isn’t much I can say about Mr. 3000, so this is going to be a short review.

Sports movies aren’t typically my thing, but there are a few that I really enjoy. A League of Their Own and Moneyball are two I find myself consistently recommending. They both may revolve around baseball, but the off field antics keep me engaged in the story. Despite having a pretty solid story, Mr. 3000 fails to keep my attention in the same way.

The premise of this movie is fun, but the execution never quite pans out. Bernie Mac stars as Stan Ross, a former baseball player who selfishly retired immediately after getting his 3000th hit, leaving his team in the lurch. Years later it’s discovered that, due to a clerical error, Ross actually only hit 2,997. Since he’s built his post-baseball reputation on the nickname “Mr. 3000,” Ross decides to un-retire so he can record those last few hits. Of course, getting those three hits doesn’t come easy, leading to soul searching, maturing, and an inevitable change of heart.

What Mr. 3000 suffers from is an overabundance of cliche. Every sports movie trope I can think of is present– a comeback, the cocky player, an underdog team, calling your shot, a strong woman who helps the protagonist be a better man. I understand that it can be hard to bring something new to sports movies, but that doesn’t mean the film needs to drown itself in every cliche imaginable. (It does get credit for introducing me to the “hidden ball trick,” which I thought was a Hollywood invention until Ben corrected me.)

The best thing about Mr. 3000 is Bernie Mac. He was such a great performer, and I can’t believe its been eight years since his death. Mac was definitely better than this, as is his costar Angela Bassett. While this movie is a bit of fun, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it if you haven’t already.

Rating: D+

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