Picks and Pans Review: Little Big League

updated 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Luke Edwards, Timothy Busfield, Ashley Crow, Jason Robards

To all those who have been clamoring for another antic, kid-oriented baseball comedy: You're going to be disappointed by this preposterous, leaden-spirited fantasy, which has all the vigor of a 17-inning game between two bad teams in September.

Edwards is a Minneapolis boy who inherits ownership of the struggling Minnesota Twins when his grandfather, Robards, dies.

Edwards is such an obsessed fan that he fires his manager, Dennis Farina, and takes the job himself. It is a display of ill-considered hubris not equaled in real life since Ted Turner embarrassed himself by managing his Atlanta Braves for one game (a loss) in 1977.

The players, of course, scoff at their new underage manager, though not in very amusing ways. Meanwhile Edwards' widowed mom, Crow, is devoting her life to surreal overacting, flirting too flirtily, grieving too grievously and even beaming too beamily.

A number of former and current major leaguers appear, among them Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Kevin Elster, Leon Durham, Rafael Palmeiro, Mickey Tettleton, Lou Piniella, Paul O'Neill, Wally Joyner and Dean Palmer. Busfield, a sometime semipro player, uses his bland thirtysomething yuppie persona, even though he's supposed to be the Twins' star slugger and the lustful suitor of Crow.

Director Andrew Scheinman trots out a lot of baseball arcana more or less relevant to his youth-will-be-served theme. Amazingly, he doesn't quote former-Dodger Roy Campanella's famous line, "You have to have a lot of little boy in you to play this game." Campy's fans should be grateful. (PG)

From Our Partners