Just months before, these young men had never held a baseball. Neither speaks English, both are achingly homesick, and they're drilling each day for an upcoming MLB tryout. But the movie sidelines all this real-life drama to shove Hamm into the oldest of plots: The Businessman Who Stops Putting Business First But Is Rewarded in the End with a Great Success in Business Anyway.
Still, much of Million Dollar Arm is pretty good for a movie committed to the wrong character's story. The much stronger first half covers JB's tour of India with his Million Dollar Arm pitching contest. He sees this cricket-obsessed nation as an unexploited resource: Surely someone there has MLB-level "juice." This plays as a bustling travelogue, a splendidly shot comedy that tickles at a self-involved American's frustrations at the differences between here and there.
If the filmmakers had later afforded their Indian characters the screentime and agency JB enjoyed on his adventure, Million Dollar Arm might have distinguished itself. Instead, its only suspense comes from wondering how far the story will go before departing this world for the land of sports-movie magic.