Home Run Showdown

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Home Run Showdown Movie Poster Image
Mostly family-friendly sports flick dabbles in stereotypes.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 94 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Home Run Showdown espouses positive messages about loyalty, hard work, teamwork, fairness, and the valuable life lessons to be gleaned from sports. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The kid characters by and large mean well and foster a sense of community and fairness. (Ironically, it's the adults who are more prone to petty squabbles.)

Violence

The movie includes sustained intimidation, insults, and bullying tactics among the teams to win entrance to the final showdown game. A coach instructs a player to hit another kid in the head on purpose to weaken his team, which leads to both coaches scrapping with each other. Elsewhere, two boys briefly squabble; the fight is broken up with an outrageous release of gas by another boy. A few kids are beaned in the head with baseball in the course of play.

Sex

A man acts goofily nervous anytime he's around a mother he remarks he "should have asked out." In one scene, a kid tells him to "put his eyes back in his head" after she walks away. In another, a man kisses a woman's neck, but she indicates she is only interested in friendship.

Language

In one scene, a boy calls a girl who plays baseball a "lesbo" without consequence. There are several references to stereotypes such as the antiquated (except in sports, apparently) notion that girls should not be allowed to play baseball, or that they belong instead in softball. A male newscaster expresses the idea that competitive girls are the direct result of 30 years of feminism teaching women they should be "just like men." Elsewhere, kids use kid-typical put-downs, like calling each other "dufus," "fatass," and "loser." In one scene, a kid tells another kid that he "sucks donkey balls."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many scenes take place in a family owned bar, but drinking is never shown to excess or by minors. In one scene, the bar owner serves ginger ale in martini glasses to kids who just won a baseball game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this family sports comedy features insults and put-downs, including a homophobic slur (used without consequence), and traffics in some classic stereotypes about girls being unsuitable for sports. However, it isn't a widely represented view in the film, and it's balanced out with some diversity and ultimately positive messages, particularly about bullying and getting along. Additionally, main character Lorenzo's mother has passed away (not shown, just referred to) and his father is in prison for "protecting illegal immigrants." The movie features scenes of his father calling for weekly updates from prison. 

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What's the story?

12-year-old Lorenzo (Kyle Thomas) wants to make the Little League team in the hopes he'll end up at the big showdown finale, a televised event his dad can watch from prison. Meanwhile, two brothers Joey (Matthew Lillard) and Rico (Dean Cain) who struck out in the minor leagues get a chance at redemption when they coach competing Little League teams. The trouble is, everyone needs to learn a thing or two about fair play. Will they figure it out in time to make it to the big showdown?

Is it any good?

HOME RUN SHOWDOWN traffics in the familiar sports-as-redemption territory, but some nice touches give it a modern twist. It focuses on inter-generational relationships, pitting the kids-today-raised-on-video-games against adults struggling with their own dashed dreams and petty differences.

Unfortunately, it dabbles a little in classic stereotypes about girls being less skilled at sports or automatically being lesbians. Were it not for some nice touches -- a little diversity here, a kid with a speech impediment who plays a broadcaster, but isn't mocked for it -- it would be more problematic. Parents will enjoy some of the good cross-generational jokes, and there are some nice performances. Kids who like sports will love the ins and outs of the slog to the title, and of course, watching adults have to own up to their own flaws.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the stereotyping in the film about girls as inferior to boys when it comes to sports, and the use of homophobic slurs to insult peers. Can you think of any female athletes? How are they portrayed in the media? How do stereotypes and slurs hurt people?

  • In the film, some of the kids bully each other to intimidate them and weaken their resolve to win more games. Does this work in real life? What are the consequences of bullying? Have you ever been bullied? How did you feel? How did you deal with it?

  • Baseball has long been portrayed as a valuable source of life lessons. Do you play sports? What lessons have you learned from participating in group activities?

Movie details

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