Little Big League

 
Family comedy hits home run; product placement strikes out.
  • Review Date: November 18, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1994
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

When a scrappy boy becomes owner and manager of a Major League Baseball team, players are skeptical of his ability; some of them insult and tease him. Later, the boy abuses his power, neglects his friends, and misses being a kid. Overall, characters behave in positive, supportive, well-meaning ways. A mother and a grandfather are nurturing, loving, and encouraging to a young boy. Even kids treat each other fairly well, with most teasing being good-natured and friendly. However, a hostile coach yells at his players. Also, a player performs poorly on purpose to make the young owner-manager look bad.

Violence

A boy lives with his mother; the plot reveals that the father has been dead for an unspecified amount of time. The same boy's grandfather dies, presumably of factors related to old age. The death is not shown on-camera, but there is a funeral scene and the mother and son discuss the emotional impact of these deaths. Two boys playfully torment a friend -- sitting on top of him, bopping him on the head with a balloon bat, instructing him not to speak -- but their actions seem more good-natured than cruel.

Sex

A boy who's either 11 or 12 years old rents pay-per-view "dirty" movies in his hotel room. One scene in the rented movie shows two female nurses unzipping their uniforms to reveal white lace bras; another scene shows a clothed nurse, displaying ample cleavage, leaning over a patient. A boy refers to a female classmate as a "babe."

Language

Some profanity, such as "piss," "goddamn," and "hell."

Consumerism

Brand-name products or advertisements are clearly visible throughout the movie; in fact, the camera often lingers on these items. Kids eat McDonald's hamburgers and visit an ice cream vendor selling Dove Bars and Blue Bell ice cream. Ballparks feature several advertiser signs, including those of beer and cigarette brands Budweiser and Marlboro. Gatorade is visible in the players' locker room. Other products include a Payday candy bar and Coca-Cola.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A baseball player and a team manager are shown chewing tobacco.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this movie is mostly family-friendly, it does include some profanity -- the worst being "goddamn" -- and a scene where a young boy watches a steamy adult movie where two female characters remove their tops to reveal their bras. It also features numerous product placements, including beer and cigarette ads.

Kids say

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What's the story?

When an 11-year-old boy inherits a baseball team from his grandfather, he helps the players rediscover their passion for the sport and the fun of the game. He also learns that it's no fun to grow up too fast. Billy Heywood (Luke Edwards) is a baseball enthusiast thanks to his grandfather (Jason Robards), who owns the Minnesota Twins. When the elderly man dies, he leaves the team to Billy in his will. Billy appoints himself team manager. Although the players and the pitching coach are initially skeptical, he eventually wins them over with his vast knowledge of the game, his love of the sport, and his assistance in ending their losing streak. Meanwhile, his best friends feel abandoned and his mother worries as Billy becomes increasingly swept up in his exciting new world -- and seems to forget that he's still a kid.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Young and old baseball fans -- and even many non-fans -- will enjoy this feel-good family comedy, which features a number of ballpark scenes as well as cameos from several Major League players, including Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson, who were both with the Seattle Mariners when the film was made.

A few standout comic moments: the team helps Billy with his math homework; Billy and his friends step onto the field at the Metrodome; Billy investigates his players' hotel-room shenanigans and ends up throwing water balloons with them. Some parts may seem a bit syrupy to adults and older kids -- and Billy's story, of course, requires some major suspension of disbelief -- but overall it's an enjoyable movie with both funny and tender moments.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Billy inspires the team with his boyish enthusiasm and obvious knowledge of baseball. Which scenes illustrate maturity beyond his years? Which scenes remind us of the fact that he's still just a kid? Billy's situation is unlikely, but how would a kid handle it? How would Billy balance school and his job, which involves away games that are played out of state? Would your parents let you travel alone and have your own hotel room? Also, how does the movie incorporate brand-name products into various scenes?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 29, 1994
DVD release date:September 3, 2002
Cast:John Ashton, Luke Edwards, Timothy Busfeld
Director:Andrew Scheinman
Studio:Turner Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild language and sensuality

This review of Little Big League was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written bySapphire Fire August 6, 2009
age 5+
 

Homerun! (except for some language)

This is a unique, cute movie. It is funny, interesting, and enjoyable. The language was horrible, though. I highly recommend a clear play DVD player for this movie... this movie hits a home run!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models

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