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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids learn about the true story that the film is based on, as well as some history about Mexico, the Little League, and race in America during the 1950s.
Kids learn that if they work hard and practice with discipline and determination, they can win -- even if the odds are stacked against them.
Positive Role Models
All the boys are incredibly dedicated, sweet, and hard-working. They are faithful to their team, their families, their coach, and their faith. Father Esteban believes in the boys, even when no one else does, as does Coach Cesar (although a bit more reluctantly). Cesar chooses to respect the right for all of the boys to play, even when he's commanded to play just the "better" pitcher.
Violence & Scariness
A couple of fist-fights nearly break out -- one among adult men and one among preteen boys. A boy's death -- during a stickball game -- is recounted and alluded to several times. A father is cruel to his wife and son, and while he doesn't literally hit them, he's menacing and mean on several occasions.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Cesar flirts chastely with Maria. Mario jokes that he knows more about girls than the coach. Enrique eyes a girl at the market.
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Racial insults like "towel boy," "old colored man," "wetbacks," and "those Mexicans," etc. Harsh language said by a father, like "Shut him up or I'll do it myself!" and "He'll never be the son Pedro was."
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Products & Purchases
Mild: Just a couple of Coke bottles, a Ford, and a Chevy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Both the coach and Angel's father are shown either drinking or drunk. While the coach does it just once, Angel's father is shown angry, holding a bottle or glass, in a few scenes. Angel's mother confronts her husband about his drinking to no avail.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this inspiring sports drama about a Mexican Little League team that made it all the way to the World Series is a fine pick for most kids. There are a few themes that might be too difficult for kids under 7 to understand, like the discrimination the boys face when playing in Texas or the Midwest. Because it's set in the '50s, when Jim Crow laws were still the norm in the American South, the team has to deal with "whites only" signs, being called "wetbacks" and watching the sole black player of a team eat separately from his white teammates. One of the boys has a cruel, seemingly alcoholic father grieving the death of an older son, and the coach also gets drunk after being called a "towel boy." There are also a couple of scuffles between characters, although no actual punches are thrown. There's also a strong religious theme in the film, since the kids are strict Catholics. Also, kids learn about overcoming odds, working as a team, and relying on faith when confronted with obstacles. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director William Dear's overly sentimental tribute to the first foreign team ever to win the Little League World Series is so predictable it's funny. There's nothing unexpected in the entire film, and unfortunately, neither the actors nor the director could seem to agree whether to pronounce Mexican names in Spanish or some form of exaggeratedly accented English. But despite its considerable corniness, it's nearly impossible not to get sucked into the sugary-sweet underdog story. The adorable Catholic boys are irresistible in their belief that God has provided not only a real baseball but a former major-league "coach" to lead them to greatness. They even insist on having the108th Psalm recited prior to every game in honor of a baseball's 108 stitches. If you've just rolled your eyes, then you're not the intended audience for this afterschool-special-like tale.
At first it seemed laughable that Marin, who spent his early career as half of the pot-loving comedy duo Cheech & Chong, would play a believable priest, but as the movie continued, his character was actually gentle and patient and not played (completely) for laughs. Collins, an underrated character actor who's often pigeon-holed in Hispanic gangster or cop roles, displays a good rapport with the kids, many of whom are charming veteran actors like Austin (Wizards of Waverly Place), Arias (Hannah Montana) and Panettiere (Hayden's little bro). A subplot featuring Emilie de Ravin as a newspaper reporter reluctantly assigned to cover the Industrials on their undefeated journey is underdeveloped, whereas an African-American groundskeeper (Louis Gossett Jr.) who helps the boys decipher their opposing pitcher's hand signals would've been welcome in more scenes.Perfect Game is not Rudy, but it is an educational and inspiring little sports flick.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.