This supposedly inspirational sports flick functions better as a sobering portrait of the grim fate that awaits filmmakers shut out from the endangered world of midbudget indies. Respected for Lars and the Real Girl
and The Visitor
, director Craig Gillespie and writer Tom McCarthy’s greatest accomplishment here is keeping things relatively inoffensive despite a reliance on the shamelessly broad humor that results when culture clashes on screen. (Oh, the high jinks that nearly ensue when two impoverished Indian kids visit a Hollywood mansion!) Staring down financial ruin, sports agent J.B. (Mad Men
's Jon Hamm, getting off lightly with only Disney-caliber issues to deal with here) travels to India, where—with a battery of montages—he identifies two cricketers with the potential to transition to baseball…and recruit a billion new fans in the process. Returning to L.A. with his prize guinea pigs, J.B. quickly realizes he's facing a wicked learning curve of his own. Could it be that, as a father figure, he makes Don Draper look like Dad of the Year? That his tenant (Lake Bell) isn't that bad-looking if he lowers his standards? That “having fun” is all that matters? We might be more inclined to buy what this insipid film is selling if anyone on screen could manage anything more than a forced smile.