For the Love Of the Game

2 out of 10


For the Love of the Groin

Why they called it, "For the Love of the Game", I have no idea, unless "the Game" is used in the same sense as a woman going "on the game" by working as a hooker, as the film centres on the misfiring relationship of "over-the-hill" baseball player, Billy Chapel (well, this film doesn’t have a prayer) and his girlfriend with her repeatedly trying to demolish it for the most outrageously stupid of reasons and he bing sporadically insensitive on a level that defies all credibility.

You can just imagine a group of Universal Studio executives, sitting in a back room smelling of stale cigars, as they pass around the coffee-stained script in a desperate effort to offload it on some minor middle management clown they all want to see go out the door in the next round of downsizing. How do they get this turkey off the ground before Christmas? Answer: they do what they’ve always done with a surefire looser, throw in "over-the-hill" Kevin Costner, yes, he who could add depth and meaning to a bad bout of wind and some pretty, talent-free nobody, Kelly Preston, who’s so desperate for work, she`ll appear in any old cruddy script that the postman dumps in her mailbox.

The resulting film, shot in the format of "Goodbye Mr Chips" is a confusing nightmare of flashbacks as Billy reminisces during the last game of his career (thank goodness there`s no chance of a sequel). Is it present day or last year`s season? Few clues are given. Whilst parts of this juggernaut are moving, most of it merely encourages the audience towards the exit. Unlike the "Waterboy", no attempt to explain or interest the audience in the game is made whatsoever, so you sit there, mind numbed by the incessant commentator techno-babble that accompanies the endless misty eyed shots of Costner poignantly fingering the ball and staring at the sky as he hopes for divine intervention to save him from this plot less dirge.

Finally, at joyful last, you reach the ending, so flat it makes the flood plains of Holland look like the Himalayas and you leave the cinema stunned that you actually paid to have two and a half hours of your precious life wasted.

"Nice packaging, but where`s the meat?"

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett