It’s a story we have seen many times before. A man is down on his luck with love, largely due to his irresponsible ways, until he finds redemption by coaching a little league team. Sound familiar? Got a good idea of how this movie will progress? Good, that will save me some time.
Yes, our hero is a young man who has been living off his successful model girlfriend and a large inheritance until she leaves him. Other than being a barfly, the only other thing he knows is soccer, so he applies for his first ever job as a coach. He gets the job, finds a new girl, and gains a sense of responsibility over his life (he even stops cashing his inheritance checks). Happy happy joy joy.
I may sound a bit jaded just because this story has been (over)done so many times. Honestly though, this retelling isn’t so bad. I give major credit to the believable script and relatable characters. The dramatic bits never go over the top, you can completely buy the different relationships developing, and all the main characters feel like real people. I thought the fact that our hero “Coach” (as he likes to be called) would lose some of this relatedness because of his privileged upbringing and wealth, but he is always forward about who he is, and who he is trying to be, and has a blossoming humility that people can (hopefully) find a part of themselves in. Perhaps what has been helping me enjoy this film is the fact that there are no big-name stars calling attention to themselves to distract us. Granted, much of the cast is made up of lookalikes (if you squint your eyes you might see Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Elizabeth Banks and Jon Favreau), but the film becomes grounded without the likes of Will Ferrel taking this same story to goofy places, like he did in Kicking & Screaming.
I was also very satisfied by the setup of the climax. There are some elements purposefully left unresolved so that the film’s overlapping life lesson can reach the audience, and said lesson seems to be: it is not the exact end results that matter, but what you did to get them that hold true meaning. In this film, this speaks to sports, relationships and all of life’s problems. Not bad for a little cliché film.
Widescreen 1.78:1. The picture is a touch fuzzy throughout, which is really noticeable during darker scenes in bars and such. Disappointing and sometimes distracting.
Available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. There is not a whole lot going on which the sound, but what is there is balanced adequately in all of the speakers. Things are clear enough.
Subtitles available in English and Spanish.
There are trailers for other films listed on the menu…but I don’t like to count those since most every DVD comes with that.
Yes, there are some portions that come dangerously close to becoming corny (I’m still not sure how I feel about the “singles night at the Opera scene”) but this film seems to pull everything off convincingly. While it is not the greatest of the “person who finds redemption through coaching” films, it makes for a fine example of how they can be pulled off successfully.