Picks and Pans Review: Angels in the Outfield
An unaccountable remake of the less-than-classic 1951 film of the same title, faithful right down to its dreary pace and ham-handed style, this overfanciful, underintelligent baseball comedy is about an 11-year-old boy, Gordon-Levitt, who prays for help for his favorite baseball team, the California Angels. His prayer is answered by a platoon of angels headed by Lloyd. The helpful cherubs use a wings-on approach, helping the Angels players by lending them superhuman strength and speed.
Glover, in the role originated by Paul Douglas, is the Angels' embittered, churlish manager; he grimaces and lunges around, trying to extract something funny or poignant out of a humorless script. Fricker has the thankless role of the custodian of the neo-orphanage where Gordon-Levitt lives. Danza is all but invisible as a struggling Angels pitcher, and Johnson plays the team's Gene Autry-like owner.
The 1951 film revolved around the Pittsburgh Pirates, then a long-standing symbol of lovable futility. The current Angels, however, are a moderately successful team of little interest to anyone outside Anaheim. It's a minor point, but this movie could have used all the help it could get. (PG)