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Monday, September 20, 2004

Movie Review: Mr. 3000 

Baseball movies often either hit home runs (Major League) or strike out miserably (Rookie of the Year). Sometimes, though, one will find its way through a hole in the infield for a solid, if unspectacular, base hit. That's Mr. 3000.

Bernie Mac plays Stan Ross, a Barry Bonds-like, me-first slugger, who after amassing base hit number 3000 -- one of baseball's magical plateaus -- inexorably decides to retire. He leaves the Milwaukee Brewers in the heat of a pennant race and spends the next nine years profiting off of his accomplishment with a number of "Mr. 3000"-themed businesses, all the while awaiting a phone call from the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Then the unthinkable happens. A clerical error shows that he actually fell short of 3000 hits, and thus Mac attempts a comeback at age 47. The Brewers, languishing in fifth place and playing in front of sparse crowds, insert Mac back into the lineup after the September call-ups. That's not the unthinkable, though.

Mac's quest to get three measly hits turns into a month-long saga of redemption, with ex-girlfriend Maureen (Angela Basset), a hard-nosed ESPN reporter covering the story, and his teammates, who disapprove of Mac's arrogant demeanor. From there the story takes a predictable jaunt down "Baseball Movie lane" and arrives at its conclusion without making you roll your eyes too many times at the parts that bad baseball movies usually butcher.

Sure it's cliched and relies too much on unimaginative stereotypes. But when you throw in a healthy dose of Bernie Mac being Bernie Mac, you can salvage a script with more wood than a Louisville Slugger. Mr. 3000 loses a point, however, for its climax coming in a Brewers win over the Astros. 5/10


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