Major League lacks the subtlety of Bull Durham or the drama of Eight Men Out, but for sheer crowd-pleasing fun it belts one high into the left-field bleachers. Writer-director David S. Ward creates an adult version of The Bad News Bears in this R-rated baseball comedy about a squad of misfits who rally together to bring the pennant back to Cleveland.

Major League lacks the subtlety of Bull Durham or the drama of Eight Men Out, but for sheer crowd-pleasing fun it belts one high into the left-field bleachers. Writer-director David S. Ward creates an adult version of The Bad News Bears in this R-rated baseball comedy about a squad of misfits who rally together to bring the pennant back to Cleveland.

Though the plot turns are mostly predictable, they are executed with wit and style. There’s a lot of rooting interest for the audience in the sad sacks cynically assembled by new Indians owner Margaret Whitton with the secret hope that they’ll draw so poorly that she’ll be able to break the stadium lease and head for Miami.

Naturally, when the guys get wind of this maneuver, they recover their lost pride and bring off the pennant miracle. The cast is a fine ensemble, leading off with Tom Berenger as the battered, world-weary catcher and Charlie Sheen as the juve delinquent pitcher with punk hair-do who fully merits his nickname of ‘Wild Thing’.

As long as it sticks to the field and the clubhouse, the script doesn’t falter, but there’s time to go out for popcorn during the cliched love scenes of Berenger trying to jumpstart his broken-down romance with yuppie librarian Rene Russo.

Milwaukee County Stadium fills in for the much larger (and contrastingly circular) Cleveland ballpark, which is unconvincingly used for establishing shots.

Major League

Production

Morgan Creek/Mirage. Director David S. Ward; Producer Chris Chesser, Irby Smith; Screenplay David S. Ward; Camera Reynaldo Villalobos; Editor Dennis M. Hill; Music James Newton Howard; Art Director Jeffrey Howard

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1989. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Tom Berenger Charlie Sheen Corbin Bernsen Margaret Whitton James Gammon Rene Russo
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