“Home Run Showdown” serves up an uninspiring premise — a competition among little-leaguers to catch the most outs at a home run derby — and goes downhill from there. Longtime smallscreen director Oz Scott delivers a film with a 10-year-old’s sensibility that plays like an overlong TV episode with cardboard characters bent to serve a convoluted plot. Pic is in limited release theatrically, but will score most of its runs from the Redbox bench.
Matthew Lillard and Dean Cain play brothers coaching rival youth-league teams, with Cain’s Rico a former big-leaguer who’ll do anything to win, and Lillard’s Joey a screw-up who never got out of the minors, talked into taking on a team of rejects by his dad (Barry Bostwick). Mix in a laudable PC message on immigration, a de rigueur dash of girl empowerment, a chemistry-free love interest (Annabeth Gish) for Joey, and scads of cute kids mugging for the camera. Many of the baseball scenes lack insight into the game, including the Showdown, where the kids get to meet their hero, Tank Turpino (former Major Leaguer Dmitri Young). Some slapstick will make tykes laugh. Pic was shot in Detroit.