Story: Joey (Matthew Lillard) and his brother Rico (Dean Cain) were both baseball stars in their childhood games, side by side putting on clinics on the diamond. But while Joey would fall off and never manage to rise above the minor leagues, Rico was able to break into the major league, which leads to frequent drama between the brothers. When a local little league division starts up for the season, Rico is brought in to coach one of the teams, a role he has been in before and of course, he led his players to the title each season. His team might be the odds on favorites, but Joey plans to coach a team as well, though his squad is seen as the longest of long shots in the field. The two bicker and posture, but the stakes are really raised when their father (Barry Bostwick) offers up the family business to the brother that claims victory in the championship game. Can Joey manage to pull off the underdog win or will Rico’s proven team rack up another first place finish?
Entertainment Value: I have to admit, I only watched Home Run Showdown to see Dean Cain as a youth baseball coach, as that premise made me laugh. The movie turns out to be about what I expected, a lower budget, family friendly comedy that doesn’t leave much of an impression. That was likely the goal here, given that the script feels like a patchwork of sports movie cliches and family drama retread elements, but at least it is all sewn together in watchable fashion. I wouldn’t give Home Run Showdown much praise, but it is harmless and seems to keep its ambition simple, which leads to an end product that doesn’t ruffle feathers or try to break new ground. The on the field sports elements are less prominent than in some from this genre, but there’s a lot of sports lingo and such, so it likely helps here if you happen to love the game of baseball. I don’t have strong negative feelings about this one, but I also have no desire to ever see it again or offer up much praise for the movie. So I can’t recommend it with passion, but if you like baseball movies or Dean Cain, it might be worth a shot.
This is a good role for Dean Cain, though he will literally accept any role at this point, which makes for some wacky choices, like this one. He is given the golden child type character and Cain’s arrogance works well in the part, especially when in contrast with Matthew Lillard’s character. Cain might take any role that is sent his way, but he doesn’t phone this one in, or at least not to the level of some of his laughable turns in low budget pictures. His passable performance is a testament to the auto pilot approach he seems to use in the wake of his star power dimming, with Cain having a basic performance down to a science for these kind of movies. He won’t win any new fans with this kind of acting effort, but his established fans should be pleased. In addition to Matthew Lillard, the cast includes Annabeth Gish, Stephanie Koenig, and the always wonderful Barry Bostwick.