Directed by: Christopher Reeve
Starring: Jake T. Austin, Rob Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, William Macy
Such an odd little movie. Everyone's Hero is a mighty well-intentioned children's feature, with nary a naughty word in the dialogue. It has a distinct nostalgic palette, prettily recreating the Depression Era with viewer-friendly CGI animation. It's got one of those "keep slugging no matter what the obstacles" themes that kindergarten teachers love. It also happens to have been the last film that legendary actor Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana worked on before their deaths. Alas, Everyone's Hero never soars above its predictable story line, and the movie arrives at home plate not with a hurrah but with a weary ho-hum.
Everyone's Hero tries to break new ground by eschewing the usual warm, fuzzy animals that are the stock-in-trade of children's animation. Instead, the hero's sidekicks are a baseball named Screwie (voiced by Rob Reiner) and a wooden bat named Darlin (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg). Inanimate characters, no matter how hyperactive their voices are, just cannot involve an audience. Some parents will be put off by the strangely boy-heavy story: Except for one minor character, an African-American girl pitcher, the movie has no female presence whatsoever.
Ten-year-old Yankee Irving (voice of Jake T. Austin) is a devoted Yankees fan and wannabe player, but he can't seem to actually get his bat to hit the ball, so none of the other boys want him on their team. From out of the equipment room at Yankee Stadium, where his father works, a nasty rogue pitcher from the Chicago Cubs (voiced by William Macy) steals the good-luck bat that the legendary Babe Ruth credits with his home runs. With the help of Screwie the talking baseball, Yankee rescues the bat and then races by train to deliver it to the Babe in time to save the famous 1932 World Series showdown between the Yankees and the Cubs. There's lots of good train action, but not much else to hold your attention. Wait for Everyone's Hero to come to the library where you can rent it for free -- and let's remember Christopher and Dana Reeve for all the other projects they did before this one.
-- reviewed by Marcianne Miller