Despite the lack of athletic prowess gifted the Slack Jaw Punks writing staff, even the most nerdy among us (Iron Squid by a mile) can not deny the joy of watching a good sports film. Also we can’t deny the appreciation and longing we have to be one of the guys. On the team, ya know. I think every nerd wants that. The D&D crew just doesn’t cut it. While I did play golf in high school (somewhere between Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore), and hung out with mostly jocks (geeks can be popular too) I can’t really relate to the bond built during practices, road trips, victories and defeats or group showers. (The last one I could do without) Despite, that I can and do enjoy films about those special relationships. While Undrafted, probably won’t be mentioned in conversation the same way Slapshot, Major League, or Friday Night Lights are. It’s still a really nice little film.
Written and directed by Jurrasic Park’s Joseph Mazzello, Undrafted is about a summer baseball team called the D-Backs, composed mostly of former Minor League has beens and collegiate players battling it out for a trip to the second round of the playoffs. The game takes place directly after the MLB draft; a draft, which the team’s star player John Mazetti (Aaron Tveit) hoped to be taken. The game already has more weight added to it after the opposing team swaps out all their players with minor league guys.
Undrafted boasts an impressive young cast, besides the Steve McQueen look-a-like Tveit, Mazzello himself, Chace Crawford, Duke Davis Roberts, Matt Bush, Tyler Hoechlin, and Matt Barr are also featured. Veteran funny man James Belushi has a small role as Tveit’s father. Mike and Molly actor Billy Gardell adds some laughs as the game’s umpire.
Mazzello (The Pacific), having based the film on his own brother’s disappoint of not reaching the major leagues, as I said earlier, isn’t perfect. The film jumps in and out of rhythm, almost like he didn’t want to edit anything. Even with that, though, the cast and characters are likable enough to keep you interested. The film is at it’s best during the scenes focusing on the camaraderie or lack of inside the 12 man unit. Some might say the characters are a bit stereotypical, but from my experience of cover sports, (yah this nerd use to do that), and being around athletics, I’d say I’ve met a lot of these guys before.
Undrafted might not have the shelve life of other films in his genre, but like that pitch hanging out on the corner, it’s worth taking a swing at.
Undrafted is out on VOD today.