Mr. 3000 DVD Review

The team can win, lose, or tie. That's it. Sports movies have no other options. It's something that really defeats the purpose of filming one in the first place. If it's a true story, then it's excusable. "Mr. 3000" is not, so you can easily fault it for falling into the rut that so many of these films do. If it tried to do anything different it might be worthwhile, but it doesn't.

Stan Ross (Bernie Mac) ends his professional baseball career the very day he gets his 3,000th hit. Expecting to be in the Hall of Fame, a statistician discovers three of those hits don't count due to a scoring error revolving around a delayed game. Now 47, Ross must come back after a nine-year hiatus to not only try and secure his spot in Cooperstown, but to reclaim a stat he believes is his.

Bernie Mac is always fun. He's got energy, personality, and a wild sense of humor. What he doesn't have here is a great movie. It's not bad, just predictable. It's not really the scripts fault or anything to do with the director. This genre is just so tired and worn out, there's nothing left to do with it.

If it makes you laugh, then all could be forgiven. It tries to draw most of its humor from Stan's cocky attitude, but any sports fan has seen all of this before, whether it is in another movie or on the field. It's not like athletes like him don't exist. The supporting cast has very little to do and very little screen time. The entire movie is, obviously, squarely focused on Mac, leaving little room for anyone else. Angela Bassett is fine as the love interest, just pray she never lands a spot as an ESPN news anchor.

Speaking of ESPN, product placement here is brutal, as the camera always seems to linger a bit too long on any given product. Some of this is fine (ESPN adds a layer of authenticity); the rest of it is shameless. The funniest thing is probably that the film ends with the Viagra logo right in the corner of the screen, Ross doing an advertisement for the drug. Yes, it's a joke that plays in with an earlier scene; it's just that with all the rest of the placements, it's too much.

There's never really a moment when the movie is "on." It's not engrossing (common sense tells you what's going to happen), it's only mildly amusing, and it fails at grabbing the viewer early on. Sports fans will enjoy seeing their favorite sports show hosts in a movie, but that's a small redeeming feature for the rest of the running time. (** out of *****)

This is a gorgeous 1.85:1 transfer, packed with detail and color. More then a few moments will make your jaw drop if you look at some of the facial detail contained here. There's a light layer of grain in the backgrounds if you're looking (occasionally pretty noticeable) and there are a small number of scenes that let the compression artifacts show through. These are the types of problems you'll only notice if you're really looking for the most part. If the movie isn't holding your interest, then maybe it will give you something to do. (****)

It's not a movie that really needs it, but "Mr. 3000" has received a solid DTS track along with standard 5.1. One thing both mixes do is immerse the viewer in the stadium, putting them right at the plate. The DTS offers more in the way of separation and movement when necessary. There's little in the way of bass, save for the soundtrack that occasionally provides some work for the subwoofer. Dialogue is mixed excellently, never becoming too drowned out against the background noise. (****)

Extras are surprising here. The commentary from a very enthusiastic young director Charles Stone (soon to be directing the video game based "Tekken") is active, starting the feature set out right. The obligatory making of feature runs at exactly fifteen minutes, showing some great behind the scenes footage in between the usual comments from the cast and crew about how great it was to work with each other.

"Spring Training: The Extra's Journey" looks at how the players were chosen. There were a surprising number of actual Major League players who tried out along with those who play the game casually. There's a little bit of extra footage on this same topic in the making of, though this is far more in depth, running at 10-minutes.

"Everybody Loves Stan" is a rather pointless montage of actors and TV show hosts talking about the "real" Stan Ross. It doesn't last long so the pain is short. There are three extended scenes, one a Sportscenter highlight reel, another the Jay Leno appearance, and finally the full mini-mall commercial.

The full deleted scenes are not very interesting, including the full EA Sports commercial. What's odd (beyond the obvious product placement even in the extras) is that this specific scene must be viewed with the director's commentary. The other cuts give you the option of watching without it. Three minutes of great outtakes round things off.

On a final rant, why is everything blurred out during these features? It's hilarious to see Tom Arnold with the subtitle "Best Damn Sports Show Host" on the bottom of the screen but the shows logo blurred out in the background. The same goes for the spring training segment, which blots out seemingly every hat on every player. They had no trouble showing this stuff during the film, did they? (***)

Are in-movie ads the future? Will every single movie have a few shots that linger on a product for a few seconds too long? If it is, then movie studios have no one to blame but themselves when ticket numbers start declining because it's annoying and detracts terribly from the movie.

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