Los Angeles Times - 09/14/2001
"...A surefire heart-tugger made with skill and judgment....This endearing film strikes an all-crucial consistent balance between grit and sentiment..."
Variety - 09/10/2001
"...[Warren is] a tiny fireball of energy....Perkins provides quiet intensity..."
New York Times - 09/15/2001
"...Its uplifting message about teamwork and caring wouldn't hurt a fly. You might even say, the movie is good for you..."
USA Today - 09/14/2001
"...Lane conveys warmth and intelligence..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2002
"...It offers a refreshingly realistic approach to the way pre-teens actually talk..."
Brian Robbins (VARSITY BLUES) directs another sports-related picture with HARDBALL, an uplifting story about a man who finds redemption when he's least expecting it. Keanu Reeves stars as Conor O'Neill, an underachiever whose gambling addiction has gotten him into seemingly insurmountable trouble. Desperate for money, he begs his friend Jimmy (Mike McGlone) to bail him out one more time. Jimmy agrees to give Conor a weekly stipend, but only if Conor agrees to coach a little league baseball team in Chicago's inner city. At first, Conor realizes just how unequipped he is for this particular task, as the assembled team goofs off, fights, and curses, paying no attention to his authority. Eventually, however, he gains their respect, and pretty soon, they're winning games. Meanwhile, off the field, Conor finds himself falling for the children's schoolteacher, Miss Wilkes (Diane Lane). He also places a potentially life-threatening bet with a high-level bookie, but after a miracle saves him and he begins to fully embrace his new role as a coach and father figure, tragedy strikes and teaches Conor a much more valuable life lesson. Based on the non-fiction book by Daniel Coyle, HARDBALL is an uplifting story that gets a boost of energy from its non-professional cast of youngsters.
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