This was probably supposed to be a feminist manifesto, but the men steal the picture. Jon Lovitz plays the wonderfully weasely baseball scout Ernie Capadino, and gets nothing to do nothing but spit out fabulously cynical one-liners. Tom Hanks, in the first successful mature role of his career as the hard-drinking, embarassed-to-be-coaching-girls, ex-home run king Jimmy Dugan (based on real life star Jimmy Foxx) is a wonder of bad manners, attitude, and regret. With this movie and his performance in “Green Mile,” I’m pretty sure Hanks has the two greatest and most dramatic urination scenes in cinema history.
When Major League baseball starts losing its players to World War Two and there are rumors and suspicions that men’s baseball will be shut down, the Harvey Candy Bar owner decides American baseball appetites can be whetted with the All American Girls Baseball League. Lovitz recruits sisters Kit Keller (Lori Petty) and Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and brings them to a huge one-day tryout at Wrigley Field. Dot and Kit have a serious sisterly competition problem, with Dot seeming to always come out on top. In Chicago, they show off their amazing looks and A1 baseball skills and join Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell as members of the Rockford Peaches. Madonna was so concerned with her believability as an athlete here that she soon went through several pro baseball and basketball players. She has a nice swing dance scene with the guy who played Carmine Ragusa on “Laverne and Shirley” and Squiggy even gets to play an announcer. Rosie has a great coming out speech in the movie where she rejects her flea bitten uncaring boyfriend. Luckily there are no leather lingerie sequences. I wish we could say the same for “Exit to Eden”.
Dottie becomes the best player in the league, all of the players are hot, save Rosie and the league’s best power hitter, and if they can sober up Jimmy there may even be an exciting championship game by the end of the movie.
I’m not sure I’m ready to be a regular watcher of womens sports, but after Brandi Chastain took off her top in that soccer championship and “A League of Their Own,” I’m willing to watch more movies about female athletes. I even once saw some great lesbian action in the movie “Personal Best”. Let’s get Cameron Diaz to play Babe Didrikson. I can’t wait to see Tyra Banks play Florence Griffith Joyner, or even Halle Berry in a dual role as the Williams Sisters. Sadly Geena Davis took her success here as a signal that she should try to become the first big female action star. Being the best female hitter of all-time is no reason to be in “Cutthroat Island”.
When I saw this at the theater and wanted to leave, everyone in the theater insisted on watching the credits, which feature a reunion game for the real league’s players. I am very convinced I can do without seeing any more footage of sixty year old women playing baseball for the rest of my life.