Making the Grades
Another sports come-from-behind story, Rookie Of The Year is about Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas), a young boy who can't find his way out of right field, yet through a freak (and unbelievable) medical mishap, is able to throw a baseball faster than pitchers spit tobacco. After returning a ball from the bleachers directly to home plate at a Chicago Cubs game, the last place Cubs feel they have found their boy to pull them out of the basement.
Sure, the movie has been done a hundred times before with many different twists and turns and types of sports, but every now and then you need to pull out the plot and dust it off for the current crop of young dreamers that would love to be in Henry Rowengartner's shoes. And in that capacity, this film does a better than average job, even if it is totally unbelievable.
Sad to say though, this baseball diamond still has its fair share of flaws. Henry's mom is dating a guy who has put himself in the position of being Henry's manager, and when the relationship strikes out, so does Mom with a left hook that puts her man out the door and rolling down the stairs. However, Henry and Mom think this is great, and a violent dispute is looked upon lightly.
Of course, no sports movie is complete without a locker room scene with some sexual innuendo, and although there is no nudity, we get to see Henry compare his anatomy with those around him. Then there is the clown of the team. This guy is supposedly a trainer, yet is so stupid you wonder who came up with this character. Again, rather than work on a quality script with humour, it's easier to add a clown into the act.
Movies are like baseball: They both have a lot of averages, and this film adds one more average to the pile.