Major League: Back to the Minors - *

Major League: Back to the Minors

Well, you just can’t keep a good franchise down…or a bad one from the looks of it. Major League, a mildly amusing film that stretched for it’s first sequel now returns for a third try. However, with most of the original cast absent (most notably Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger), the Cleveland Indians nowhere in sight, and the shift of focus away from the major league, it’s a pretty big stretch to call this film a sequel.

Corbin Bernsen is the biggest name to return, as Roger Dorn. He helps to run the Minnesota Twins, and needs a new manager for their AAA minor league team, the Buzz. He finds his man in worn-out pitcher Gus Cantrell (Scott Bakula).

However, Gus finds the Buzz is full of misfits (surprise, surprise). There’s only one promising player, Downtown Anderson (Walt Goggis), among the bunch. Though Gus does recruit former Major League players Pedor Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) and Isuro Tanaka (Takaaki Ishibashi) for his minor league team. Let the wackiness ensue!!!

As you would expect, the Buzz starts out horribly, but then miraculously turns into a good team. So good, in fact, that Gus puts out a challenge to his rival, Leonard Huff (Ted McGinley), manager of the Twins, to pit the minor league Buzz vs. the major league Twins.

You know you’re likely in trouble when a film can’t even attract the likes of Charlie Sheen or Tom Berenger to return, and when a pair of out-of-work tv stars topline the movie, that trouble’s almost certain. To their credit, the filmmakers know their formula cold, but the film doesn’t even make the slightest effort to deviate from the norm.

The jokes they pile upon the film aren’t as bad as they are simply tired. (Hey! A guy gets bonked in the head with a baseball! Whoa! Haven’t seen that one before!) Some of the baseball commentary (by Bob Uecker again) gets a chuckle or two, but it’s not even up to the low standards of the last Major League film.

As the lead, Scott Bakula has some talent, but I hope he’s not trying to showcase it here. He ran through this old formula once before in Unnecessary Roughness (ok, that was football, but the bad-sports-team concept still holds). He doesn’t uncover anything new this time out.

There are no real standouts among the rest of the cast. Each player has his quirk, and there’s not much beyond that. Hardly any of them even rate a personality.

It’s amazing that this one avoided going direct-to-video. There’s no reason to see it on film…in fact, there are several reasons against seeing it at all. But, it isn’t absolutely horrible, and could service as a last-choice rental.

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