Simply by existing, "Million Dollar Arm" serves as both mythmaking and infomercial in equal measure. Based on the true story of how Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel became professional American baseball players, the film is more than competent in the way it builds a wish fulfillment fairy tale out of a last-ditch effort to save his business by J.B. Bernstein, a sports agent, and why wouldn't it be? Craig Gillespie directs from a screenplay by Thomas McCarthy. That's a rock-solid pedigree, and Jon Hamm plays Bernstein with his Don Draper turned up loud. It's a feel-good story that raises cultural questions that the film doesn't seem terribly interested in answering, and it feels like an easy triple in the grand Disney tradition.
First, dealing with it simply as a film, it's fairly direct and there is an easy charm to it. The agency that J.B. opened is faltering, and when he misses out on signing an NFL star they've been courting for a year, it looks like they're going to have to close the doors. J.B. has one last big idea, though, after a late-night of watching cricket on cable, and decides to create a reality show/contest that will take place in India. They're going to reach out to cricket players and see if they can find someone who they groom to become a baseball player. It's a big jump to make, since cricket really doesn't have much to do with baseball. Even the mechanics that are similar mean very different things to the two different games. But J.B. hopes that he can make it work and end up with a star that his agency can own, lock, stock, and barrel.