Million Dollar Arm: REVIEW

Jon Hamm is the worst part of this Jon Hamm movie.

If someone could tell me why the same studio that continually pumps out instant classics in the animated arena, also continues to put out so many pathetic live-action films, that’d be great.

Disney has a long track-record of subpar live-action films (recent duds like John Carter, The Lone Ranger, Oz the Great and Powerful, College Road Trip, The Game Plan, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice stand out, with the notable exceptions of Saving Mr. Banks and the Pirates’ films).

Million Dollar Arm is no different.


This by-the-number feel-good sports movie follows the true story of J.B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) on his search for the next great baseball stars. Obviously, the first place he looks is the Cricket fields of India.  Now, I’m not that familiar with his work on Mad Men,  but surely Jon Hamm must be more interesting there than his one-note character is here.

It has it’s touching moments towards the end of the film, but most of Million Dollar Arm is just bad. I literally cringed at many of the moments in the first act of the film — the dialogue is unbearable, the acting is poorly directed, the editing was choppy and distracting, and the setup of this story is just boring. This premise could have been done so much better.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that a big chunk of the dialogue in this movie is worse than a lot of stuff I’ve read by first-time kids writing their first screenplays.  Which is extremely surprising because Writer Tom McCarthy is the same guy who brought us the delightful Win-Win, and helped develop the story to one of the greatest animated films ever made, Up. It makes me wonder what Disney does to these scripts once its in their hands… They try to please everyone in the audience so much that it ends up pleasing no one.

The bright spots of the film include newcomer Pitobash Tripathy as the aspiring baseball coach, and fun turns from Alan Arkin and Lake Bell (who are both still criminally underused). Million Dollar Arm may appeal to those looking for a pleasant, feel-good movie on a free Summer night. But go somewhere else if you’re looking for any real fun, substance, or a satisfying story.

+ Lake Bell and Alan Arkin give fun performances
+ The Indian culture brings a fresh twist to the genre

– Jon Hamm’s character has got to be one of the flattest, most boring characters in any recent major studio film
– The dialogue is cringe-worthy
– Jokes fall flat, and feel copied from better movies
– The first act is unbearably boring
– Sappiness that’s unearned
– Incredibly predictable


Million Dollar Arm is a mostly snooze-worthy addition to a weak list of Disney live-action films. It’s heart was in the right place, but the execution was a disaster. It’s unoriginal, overly sappy, and has a number of cringe-inducing scenes. I was ready for the film to end far before the credits rolled. For a heart-warming movie about taking risks and trying something new, Million Dollar Arm is surprisingly predictable and extremely boring.


Million Dollar Arm is rated PG for “mild language and suggestive content.” The film’s protagonist is a ladies’ man who frequently has women stay the night at his place, and there’s a brief amount of mild language. Recommended for older kids. 

© Matt Tory, 2014. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s