After his success as a bottle feeding, doting involuntary father in surprise 1987 smash Three Men and a Baby, then hot TV star Tom Selleck (“Magnum P.I”) essentially changed film gears and gave comedies – in particular, those with a romantic bent like Her Alibi and later, In & Out – his immediate focus. Sure, he’d do a parade of westerns as the ‘90s ticked on, becoming known for his pistol-packing cowboy roles, but for the interim he was Tom Selleck – big screen comedy superstar.
That was the plan, anyway.
Besides a triumphant return turn in the inevitable Three Men and a Little Lady (1990), Selleck didn’t achieve much success in laffers until mid-Clinton era and even that was fleeting, ultimately seeing the actor joining TV comedy“Friends” in a popular, long-running recurring role. The role of Richard, Monica’s beau on the hit series, fared much, much better than films like Mr Baseball.
Released in 1992, Mr Baseball saw Selleck and his trademark beau take the guise of a fallen major league baseball star who is forced to take up field work in Japan.
Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck) is none too happy to find himself a member of The Dragons but after tackling the cultural changes, and warming up to the idea of helping the underdogs take the crown, his improved efforts start to pay off.
Bearing a similar scenario to Michael Keaton-Ron Howard comedy Working Class Man (1986), and nailing its silliness and sweetness equally, the Fred Schepsi-directed rom-com was, as far as the film is concerned, largely a success. Selleck is good in the part of Elliot, has undeniable chemistry with co-star Ken Takakura, and remains charming enough throughout to easily sustain the film’s 1 hr 50 min runtime.
This enjoyable time-passer doesn’t knock one smack bang onto the scoreboard ‘Natural’-style but it’s worth a look, particularly now that it’s been released in a beautiful new Blu-ray transfer courtesy Via Vision. Disc comes with the film’s theatrical trailer and a featurette on the legendary Babe Ruth.