Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

You cats are sooooo lucky I took my ten year old son to the screening of ‘Everybody’s Hero’.  So lucky.  Otherwise, I would be railing on this here little flick, the next in a long, long line of CGI animated features, but certainly not the last.  This is one of the poorer offerings on the never ending CGI list, made even more difficult to trash because it’s the last project of the late Christopher Reeve, who directed and also features his departed wife Dana, who produced.  But what saves you, Everyone’s Hero, is that my son loved you.  Of course, he also likes the Cheetah Girls and will pick his nose until it bleeds, but based on his recommendation alone, I am forced to approve this film for all kids and brain damaged adults.

10 year old Yankee Irving (voiced by Jake T. Austin) is a huge New York Yankee fan, and since this takes place during the depression era 1920’s, he’s a fan before the designated hitter when American League baseball didn’t suck so bad.  Alas, Yankee is also a really poor baseball player who is always picked last at the sandlot.  After striking out yet again, the dejected Yankee finds a grimy baseball under a broke down car and takes it home.  Lo and behold this thing talks.  Not recognizing it to be a tool of Satan as I would have, Yankee now has a new foul mouthed angst ridden talking baseball friend named Screwy (Rob Reiner).  Get it?  Screwy?  Like a screwball?  Anyways…. 

On the other side of town the Yankees are in the World Series against the Cubs and the owner of the Cubs, Mr. Robinson (Robert Wagner) wants a win so badly he decides to have the scurrilous Lefty McGinnins (William T. Macy) steal Babe Ruth’s

lucky bat ‘Darlin’.  Trouble is, the bat gets stolen during Yankee’s dad’s shift at the ball park and he loses his job.  Now Yankee must retrieve the saucy talking bat, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, and take it to the babe in Chicago before the Yankees lose the series and also to get his father’s job back.

As a movie, this thing fails on a number of levels.  The animation is stiff and fairly uninspired with a bit of a 1995 Toy Story feel to it.  Toy Story was fantastic ten years ago, but with today’s fare getting more elaborate and spectacular, you expect a little more.  But my son didn’t seem to care about that.  Note however that great story telling, pacing, voice acting and directing can save even the worst animated film, whereas great animation such as that in Ice Age 2 can’t save a poorly executed story.  Though my son didn’t care about this either, ‘Everyone’s Hero’ falls short in the story category as well.  There is a wildly inconsistent tone to the throughout the film as it takes place during the depression era, but it’s not true to the time and the language, some of the sets and the music were decidedly new millennium.  Totally lost on my boy.   The talking bat and ball were cute for a little while, but they started to grate on a nerve and quick, but they seemed to keep my child in stitches from start to finish.  There was also a nice little homage paid to the Negro League teams of the era, but, without forcing some heavy handed social issue on us, perhaps a minute could have been set aside to tell the kiddies why there were black guys on one team and white guys on another.  But then, maybe the Reeves decided to let the parents handle that issue should it come up.

Then somewhere down the line, the film turned from a semi normal movie, despite the talking bat and ball, to a completely over the top farce replete with and ending straight out of left field.  Get it?  Left Field?  Anyways, it appears that midway through the filmmakers gave up any notion of making an animated film for anyone to enjoy and decided to center on it’s target demographic, and guess what?  From my vantage point it hit a bull’s-eye with that demographic.  In a theater full of children, most of then far younger than my own progeny, it was surprising to see that for the most part they were quiet and captivated by the images on the screen.  And after it was over, they cheered.  That’s good enough for me people, since this is who the movie is meant for anyway.  So pack it up one Saturday morning and take the kids to see ‘Everybody’s Hero’.  I can almost guarantee that they will love it, even though you probably won’t.  Unless you’re some kind of warped Yankee fan.

Real Time Web