2006, G, 88 min. Directed by Christopher Reeve, Colin Brady, Dan St. Pierre. Voices by Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Jake T. Austin, William H. Macy, Mandy Patinkin, Brian Dennehy, Dana Reeve, Richard Kind.
REVIEWED By Brian Clark, Fri., Sept. 22, 2006
This animated ode to baseball feels like it arrived in a time machine from the distant past when G-rated children's movies got their message across without sarcasm, innuendo, and pop-culture references. Envisioned by the late Christopher Reeve, who passed away before its completion, the heart of Everyone's Hero remains firmly displayed on its sleeve as it celebrates the pursuit of dreams with unapologetic sincerity. In it, Reeve offers possibly the least depressing portrayal of the Great Depression ever put to screen. Here, a young boy named Yankee Irving (Austin) uncovers a plot to steal Babe Ruth's lucky bat before the 1932 World Series. With the help of a talking baseball (Reiner), he sets off on an adventure from New York to Chicago to recover the stolen bat from Cubs Pitcher Lefty Maginnis and return it to the Babe in time for him to win the series. It's a whimsical, colorful journey, and while the animation isn't on the level of big-budget Pixar epics, it still evokes the city with enough flair to immerse youngsters. However, besides the can-do message, which indeed resonates more coming from Reeve, the film offers little in the way of entertainment. A few Chuck Jones-inspired sequences of slapstick bring some much-needed energy in the middle, but for the most part, sentimentality takes priority, and the film quickly becomes repetitive. Young boys may be enchanted by the inspirational adventure, but for anyone over the age of nine, Yankee's journey is ultimately a dull one paved with good intentions.