The funniest movie about baseball, eighties classic Major League stars Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen as baseball has-been’s who rise above their scheming owner.
The great thing about Major League is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, opting for a light tone and some crazy characters who embody the subtle sarcastic zaniness of the film. After the corrupt new owner of the Cleveland Indians wants to relocate the team to Miami where she can wine and dine herself in the sunny climate, she invites lots of “has been’s and never will be’s” to spring training in the hope that her terrible team will finish last allowing her to achieve her goal. However, when her screwball players start winning games she starts to wonder if her plan will backfire.
One thing Major League has in abundance is great comedy – it’s without doubt one of the funniest film’s about baseball ever made. You’ve just got to look at the characters from Pedro Cerano (Dennis Haysbert) and his praying to a voodoo god to help him hit curveballs; Eddie Harris (Chelcie Ross) who wears any lubricating agent he can find on various places of his body just so he can doctor the ball to help his pitches have more movement; and Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn who takes his “call-up” from a prison cell. The film’s ability to continually find something funny within any situation is a great virtue that never allows it drag.
There’s a great scene in a public library where Rene Russo and Tom Berenger are arguing about their failed past relationship. Just when it seems like the usual clichés are being delivered, Russo asks him about a girl that seemed to be the catalyst for their ending friendship to which he replies: “She bet me fifty bucks she had a better body than you…I had to defend your honour.” This sums up the film – a conventional story inspired by sudden shots of inventive humour and wry social sarcasm. The fact the film has so many memorable comedic moments – Charlie Sheen’s over-the-top glasses to help him pitch, and when he inadvertently sleeps with his team mate’s wife; the boat-engine Jacuzzi and when one his players tells coach Lou Brown (James Gammon) a point in his contract, he throws it to the ground and with a straight face, pisses all over it; when uninvited Wesley Snipes gets taken out during the night whilst sleeping in his bed and wakes up outside saying “I’ve been cut already?” – highlights the film’s fun, lasting appeal.
The film might be straightforward and predictable, and the romantic sub-plot between Berenger and Russo doesn’t quite work (the music that seems to pronounce each of their scenes is awfully melodramatic), but Major League has an abundance of laughs to rise above the clichés and enough lovable, screwball characters to keep you entertained.
Directed by: David S. Ward
Written by: David S. Ward
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James Gammon, Wesley Snipes
Released: 1989 / Genre: Sports-Comedy / Country: USA / IMDB