Everyone’s Hero (2006)
Everyone’s Hero (2006)

Genre: Fairy Tale Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min.

Release Date: September 15th, 2006 MPAA Rating: G

Director: Colin Brady, Christopher Reeve, Daniel St. Pierre Actors: Jake T. Austin, Brian Dennehy, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Ed Helms, Mandy Patinkin, Rob Reiner, Richard Kind, Forest Whitaker

 


 

“E

veryone’s Hero” is a typical outcast-boy-meets-talking-baseball children’s picture – heavily saturated with absurdity in every aspect, with the most ridiculously illogical ending ever to disgrace a film. It may just be a light flick for kids, but moviegoers are in a sad way if this nonsensical rubbish is considered a worthwhile endeavor to entertain today’s youth. Furthermore, children aren’t likely to laugh at the jokes; in fact, several of the sequences might raise more puzzling questions than this year’s earlier fiasco, “Barnyard,” which notably featured udders on every cow, regardless of sex. Here, there’s something clearly more “screwie” about the premise than just the talking baseball’s name.

Yankee Irving (Jake T. Austin) is an awkward 10-year-old boy with big dreams of playing baseball. But he lacks any real talent for the game. When he finds a mysterious old baseball in the neighborhood sandlot, he discovers that it can talk, though only he can hear it (an irrefutable indication of insanity if ever there was one). When Babe Ruth’s famous bat Darlin’ (Whoopi Goldberg) is stolen from the Yankee’s locker room – and Irving’s father is blamed – the young boy and his new friend Screwie the Baseball (Rob Reiner) must begin a quest to retrieve her. Upon locating the bat in the hands of the Chicago Cubs’ sinister pitcher Lefty Maginnis (William H. Macy), Irving plots to steal her back to reunite her with Babe Ruth (Brian Dennehy), currently playing in the 1932 World Series. Along the way, he meets several inspirational characters who help him on his journey and teach him obnoxious moral lessons like “never give up” and “black baseball players really know how to dance with an invisible ball.”

The voice casting of “Everyone’s Hero” seems rather modest compared to recent computer-animated fare – perhaps due to IDT Entertainment’s limited budget. Rob Reiner, a decidedly odd choice, desperately attempts to emulate Billy Crystal’s quirky style and quick one-liners, but rarely succeeds. Bad jokes and a bland script are faults of the screenwriters, but that never stopped a sensational voice actor like Robin Williams (here, he has an uncredited cameo) from breathing life into the most lifeless of characters. And most of the other B-movie participants aren’t worth mentioning, particularly as their names are more recognizable than their voices – and their names certainly aren’t of the household variety (including Ed Helms, Richard Kind, Mandy Patinkin, Raven-Symone, Robert Wagner, and Forest Whitaker).

On the technical front, every character design is so below average that simple mediocrity would have been welcomed. And the animation itself is undeniably second-rate. But even beyond the visuals, there’s something very off about the attention to historical accuracies, including individual baseball player names, Depression Era hobos, and the existence of the Negro Leagues – especially when the story goes so far as to break the rules governing the World Series of Baseball to allow the child protagonist to gain a moment of recognition. Reality can most definitely be skewed (even more forgivably in projects catering to younger audiences), but when it’s altered to the degree shown here, it’s confusing (and infuriating) at best.

– Joel Massie

  • 2/10