A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
- On DVD or streaming: August 21, 2012
- Cast: Annabeth Gish, Dean Cain, Matthew Lillard
- Director: Oz Scott
- Studio: Image Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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