Originally created 05/07/02

'Rookie' takes its time in telling



'THE ROOKIE'

MPAA RATING: G

CAST: Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Brian Cox, Beth Grant and Angus T. Jones

DIRECTOR: John Lee Hancock

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours, 9 minutes

GRADE: B-

The Rookie is a good, true story - but it's not a great movie.

Dennis Quaid stars as Jim Morris, a high school baseball coach whose minor league career as a pitcher ended with a shoulder injury. When the high school team's catcher asks Jim to throw after practice, Jim throws so hard the catcher has to ice his hand.

Once team members discover his talent - and after the team gets off to a dismal start on the season - Jim makes a deal with them: If they win their region, he'll go to a Major League tryout.

Of course, his team wins, so he goes to a tryout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He has to wait until every other pitcher is through with their workout to throw. The Devil Rays ask him to come back in a week to throw again. On the day of his second tryout, he has to throw in a heavy rain.

Even when he makes the team, he has to work his way through the minor league system.

Throughout the movie, Jim also is in a constant battle to understand and connect with his father (Brian Cox, For Love of the Game), who doesn't care about Jim's gift to play baseball.

The movie was too slow for me to like, but Mr. Quaid does a pretty good job portraying Jim Morris. He's the only real bright spot in the movie.

Teen board member Tyler Moore, 16, is a sophomore at Brierwood Academy.