The Greatest Game Ever Played

Sports films about underdogs overcoming long odds run the gamut from flinty intelligence (Million Dollar Baby) to mushy sentimentality (Seabiscuit). This Disney drama about golfer Francis Ouimet, a young American amateur who pulled off a stunning upset against the legendary Harry Vardon in the 1913 U.S. Open, falls somewhere in the middle. Actor-turned-director Bill Paxton creates a fair degree of tension during the tournament and credibly explicates the class issues of the day, but screenwriter Mark Frost doesn't seem to trust the material enough, adding overwrought backstories about Ouimet's relationship with his father and Vardon's insecurity over his humble origins. With Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Elias Koteas, Luke Askew, and Stephen Marcus. PG, 115 min.

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