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Article

Hardball

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Keanu Reeves, Hardball
Hardball: Chuck Hodes

Hardball

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG-13
runtime:
106 minutes
Wide Release Date:
09/14/01
performer:
Diane Lane, Keanu Reeves, John Hawkes, Mike McGlone, D.B. Sweeney
director:
Brian Robbins
distributor:
Paramount Pictures
author:
John Gatins
genre:
Comedy, Sports, Drama

We gave it a D

Based on Daniel Coyle’s 1993 memoir of coaching Little League baseball in Chicago’s Cabrini-Green housing project, former ”Head of the Class” star Robbins’ urban drama toplines Reeves as a desperate gambler who agrees to step up to the plate in an effort to ease some of his debts. Originally developed at Paramount with Carl Franklin (director of ”One True Thing” and ”Devil in a Blue Dress”), the project came to Robbins after he had a hit with the sports-themed ”Varsity Blues.” He immediately went to work with ”Blues”’ uncredited screenwriter John Gatins, revising the story and transforming its protagonist from a yuppie stockbroker into a ”lost soul.”

”I didn’t want to do the white-guy-saves-the-ghetto movie,” says Robbins, who also made last year’s wrestling comedy ”Ready to Rumble.” Nor did he want to take a softball approach, which has made ”Hardball” a tricky sell: Although the movie is populated with lots of preteens, the language is rough enough to have earned a PG-13 rating. ”This is a movie about kids for adults,” says Robbins, who was prepared to accept an R. ”It’s not a happy, smiley comedy.”