July 5, 1994 -- ``Little Big League'' is a new film which tries, but doesn't succeed in matching the charm of such recent kids-and-baseball movies as ``Sandlot'' and ``Rookie of the Year.''
``Little Big League'' is about a kid named Billy Heywood, played by Luke Edwards, who inherits a baseball team, the Minnesota Twins. Heywood first fires his abusive manager and then names himself the new manager of the team. Heywood has the team playing better, but starts getting stressed out because the star of the team (played by Timothy Busfield) is dating his mother, Jenny, played by Ashley Crow. Heywood has to grow up in a hurry.
Some decent baseball action shots manage to make it into the film and the acting isn't bad. It makes its point about how major league baseball has become more of a business than a sport.
What the film forgets to do is to have much fun along the way. Heywood preaches to his players that they ought to have more fun playing baseball, but at the same time, the film's viewers are subjected to an unpleasant and uninstructive morality play about how adults don't have enough joy in their lives.
This is basically a sad film about lost innocence masquerading as a comedy. The other two films mentioned earlier, ``Sandlot'' and ``Rookie of the Year,'' stuck to the joy of the sport and they were a lot more fun to watch. ``Little Big League'' takes itself too seriously. It rates a C.
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