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Mr. 3000

Getting into the Team Spirit

I lost count of how many times I laughed during this movie. And I don't mean little giggles, but big ones. Bernie Mac has proved that he can carry a movie, which is more than Halle Berry can say (Catwoman). He plays the title character Stan "Mr. 3000" Ross, an ambitious, self-centered quasi-retired baseball player, with both comedic flare and quiet dramatic resonance.

Stan is not exactly what you would call a team player. After he reaches his lifetime goal of 3000 hits, thus making him one of "the immortals" of baseball and a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame, he decides that he no longer needs the sport or his team, The Brewers. Nine years pass and, while he has become the king of cheap strip malls in Milwaukee, he still hasn't garnered that elusive invitation into the halls of greatness. While looking over his stats, the induction committee realizes that due to an error, Mr. 3000 is in fact Mr. 2997.

Of course in the world that is the movies, he has no other choice but to re-join the team and try making his three more hits. Sounds easy, but not for a 47-year old with a paunch. (Cue workout music and physical getting-back-into-shape shenanigans here.) While comedic scenes like these are tried and true, what makes this movie stand out from the rest are the scenes that catch you by surprise. There is a great scene in which the players are silently stretching out before a game with all the grace of synchronized swimmers. There are the scenes in which Stan slowly realizes all the mistakes he has made in the past have left him with nothing. Then there are scenes full of sports commentary that seem to feature every show ESPN has ever put on. It should be noted that SportsCenter's Stuart "slow eye" Scott is hilarious here, as is Ian Anthony Dale as a swearing-impaired Japanese pitcher and Michael Rispoli as Stan's best friend Boca.

Eric Champnella and Keith Mitchell's (Eddie) screenplay is sharp and strays from the obvious and saccharine. Charles Stone III's (Drumline) direction is nuanced, and he brings the best out of his actors and the ballparks. Mr.3000 is in many ways an ode to baseball and how great a team sport it can actually be. While you're going out to the ballgame, you should probably make a detour for the movie theater to catch this great sports movie.

Stars: 4.5 out of 5