A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mickey is a 2004 family drama written and produced by John Grisham. It tells the story of a loving father who makes some incredibly bad decisions for his 13-year-old son and himself that result in shame and jail time. The badness and dishonesty of one of the decisions is never sufficiently explained or resolved. He illegally changes his and his son's identities and moves in the effort to evade federal tax fraud charges. Adding to the financial bad judgment, he chooses to enroll his talented 13-year-old son in Little League even though he's a year too old to qualify. The boy goes along with the scam and dominates play all the way up to the Little League World Series.
What's the story?
In MICKEY, a father (Harry Connick, Jr.) suffers financial setbacks from medical bills after his wife's death. To evade federal charges for tax fraud, he runs to another state with fake papers for himself and his 13-year-old son (Shawn Salinas). Making a bad situation worse, he enrolls the boy, now named "Mickey," in Little League even though he's a year too old to qualify. Mickey's talent, size, and strength bring the team, illegally, to the Little League World Series and the possibility of an international incident. They face opponents from Cuba, a country allowed to participate for the first time. The irony is that the Cuban team also fields a roster of kids too old to qualify.
Is it any good?
Although everyone eventually learns some lessons, the messages here are definitely iffy and potentially confusing to kids. While we sympathize with a dad who has not only lost his young wife to illness but also has been ruined financially by the medical bills, we cannot sympathize with his idiotic, unjustifiable, dishonest decision to illegally enroll his 13-year-old son Mickey in Little League. It's impossible to forget for a single moment that the father is, by example, teaching his kid to cheat. Every day his son goes to practice, he is betraying his teammates and coach by pretending he's 12. Worse yet, if you're hiding from the authorities, why increase the chance of being caught by placing the already extremely talented son in a baseball league below his level where his stellar ability is sure to be noticed? In both respects the movie is maddeningly dumb. When the father is caught by the IRS and the boy's team is disqualified for cheating, they're both repentant, but by then, why would we care?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pressures that brought the dad in this movie to run away from the authorities after he cheated on his taxes. Do you think it's ever OK to cheat? Why, or why not?
Why do you think Mickey agreed to play in Little League even though he knew he was too old to qualify? Do you think a child can tell a parent when the parent is doing the wrong thing?
What are some of the good things about being competitive in sports? What are some of the bad things?