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Reviews for the week of October 4, 1999.

Monday:
For Love of the Game

For Love of the Game
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Kevin Costner has done it again: he's made a boring, drippy, dull film that I found completely uninspiring. Not being an avid baseball fan or a chick flick fan, I wasn't particularly impressed by the idea that For Love of the Game was touted as less a baseball film than a chick flick.

There's no doubt that it's definitely a chick flick awash in overemotional displays and obvious plotting.

Costner portrays baseball player Billy Chapel, who is evidently past the prime of his career. Looking back over the ruins of his career - and his love life - Chapel reflects on his stupid mistakes. Most of them involve his girlfriend (Kelly Preston), who always ends up playing second fiddle to the game. No wonder she eventually dumps him. (What I don't get is why she doesn't do it much sooner.)

For Love of the Game features too many overdone, tearful scenes. Hey, Kevin Costner starts crying before the plot even gets to his love life! And he continues bawling for the majority of the film, whether or not such an emotional scene is necessary to the script (often, it isn't). Chapel hardly strikes me as the tough-guy baseball player type.

But despite being such a sensitive, emotional guy, Billy never tells his girlfriend he loves her. For all that gushing and blubbering, he rarely manages to say anything of substance. This character would have been much more endearing if he'd done less crying and gotten to his point more quickly.

Ok, I'm giving you fair warning - I'm going to blab the end here (but if you see the movie you'll undoubtedly figure it out long before the end anyway, so it doesn't really matter).

Ultimately, after much complaining and haranguing and feeling sorry for himself - and enough tears to flood a desert- Chapel pitches a perfect game (a big deal in baseball). Then he reunites with his girlfriend again, and they smooch and say how much they love each other and that's the happy ending.

The baseball scenes drag on and are rather tiresome; at least a half - hour of the game scenes could easily have been eliminated. (If you want to watch baseball, you can stay home and watch it on TV - you don't have to pay movie theatre prices!) The only game scene of any importance is the last; it is predictable from the start and represents half of this film's unrealistic, sadistically happy ending.

Yet this really isn't a sports movie, so guys probably won't be interested. For Love of the Game may fare slightly better with women, or at least with those who enjoy sappy love stories.

I don't, and I was unimpressed with For Love of the Game. There were many, many ways For Love of the Game could have been made more succinct, less glaringly obvious, and more entertaining.

My Rating = Two Stars

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