For Love of the Game

Near the end of his career, star pitcher Kevin Costner hurls a masterpiece while reviewing his life. Among the things he has to think about are Kelly Preston as the woman he loves and is losing, Jena Malone as her teenage daughter, and the serious hand injury he's had to come back from. I can't imagine what baseball fans will make of this protracted tearjerker and its tortured flashback structure, but fans of director Sam Raimi who welcomed his recent impulses to diversify (The Quick and the Dead, A Simple Plan) after making his name as a horror specialist may have second thoughts. The actual culprit may be Costner, so bent on giving himself maximum screen time that I doubt even Carl Dreyer could have made much of the results, though I'm told that Universal reedited Costner's version after he reedited Raimi's. For the first 100 minutes or so I found this hokey but serviceable; after that my watch became more meaningful than anything I could locate on-screen. Adapted by Dana Stevens from a novel by Michael Shaara; with John C. Reilly and Brian Cox.

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