Mr. 3000

It's becoming clear that watching Bernie Mac is a fun thing to do.  He hasn’t made that many movies, but in the ones he has made, he typically plays a gruff but likable character.  He is playing the same type of person in Mr. 3000, a walking sports cliché movie.  In fact, Mac's sense of humor is the only reason to watch Mr. 3000, an otherwise predictable and somewhat bland film.  It's fun to watch Mac (Bad Santa, Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle), and fun to watch him get pissed off.  He is one of the few people who can make audiences like unlikable characters.  Here, he is Stan Ross, an arrogant ball player who retired the night he achieved his 3,00th hit, although his team was still in the running for the pennant.  Now, the fans like him, the sports writers hate him, and he has constructed his entire life around his Mr. 3000 persona.

Lo and behold it turns out there was an error in the recordkeeping, and Ross only had 2,997 hits.  Now, at 47, he needs to rejoin the Brewers and get three more hits to ensure his place in the Hall of Fame.  The only things stopping him are his age (he's really out of shape), the disrespect of his fellow players, the mockery of the press, and various other manufactured things.  The Brewers aren't doing well at all, and Ross, when he begins to play, does even worse.  Maybe it's because he's older and wiser, but he begins to see things from a different perspective.  He wants to play like a team so that they can start winning, and his can-do attitude begins to work, and everybody begins doing better.

All the conflict that screenwriters Eric Champnella and Keith Mitchell (Eddie) and Howard Michael Gould come up with seems so fake.  Things start and stop with the flip of a switch.  Ross is an arrogant small business owner, then magically becomes humble and a team player.  He sees a younger version of himself in T-Rex (Brian White), a home-run hitting egoist.  But after one pep talk by Ross, the switch flips and T-Rex is out there encouraging everybody.  Then, just as it looks like Ross is really beginning to change for the better, he starts basking in the limelight of celebrity and returns to his old persona.  And no big surprise what happens by the end of the film.  Director Charles Stone III (Paid in Full, Drumline) makes one big yo-yo of the plot, never stopping to make anything credible.

But this is a sports movie filled with many sports moments, and that, with Mac alone is enough to make Mr. 3000 bearable.  There are plenty of the token moments present in every single sports movie ever made, and Stone does a decent job of filming them.  There is also a romance with Angela Bassett (Masked and Anonymous, Sunshine State), which is supposed to mirror Ross' attitude towards baseball, but there is not that much heat between the two.  The one interesting aspect is that Ross wants the relationship part, with the talking and the cuddling and spending time together, whereas Bassett's character is in it for the booty call.  This is the reverse of how movies typically portray men and women.  But Mr. 3000 is not a film about relationships, it's a film about baseball, and as Mac's first headlining film, he could have done worse.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 43 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content and languge.

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