"A League of Their Own" chronicles the story of the first women's baseball league, which formed during World War II while the men were off to war. In the film, Tom Hanks plays Jimmy Dugan, an alcoholic ex-baseball player who becomes the women's coach.
The team is made up of quite the diverse personalities including the sassy "all the way" Mae (Madonna), Dottie (Geena Davis), Kit (Lori Petty), Mae's best buddy Doris (Rosie O'Donnell), and others.
The film is an easygoing, fun time and I'm admittedly a tad biased as I was an extra for several days during filming at Bush Stadium in Indianapolis. It afforded me the opportunity to meet several members of the cast, and to watch the way they work. As much fun as filming was, that fun isn't always radiated onscreen.
Davis, a late addition to the cast, in particular seems a tad disconnected and particularly out of sync with the rest of the cast. Real life friends Madonna and O'Donnell, on the other hand, have a marvelous chemistry and this may be the best performance by both of them. Likewise, Hanks starts off a bit slow but after about the first third of the film has moved beyond stereotypical coach gestures and is developing a true character.
Penny Marshall directs, and while she tries to accomplish a lot she continues her tendency to get bogged down in sentiment which hinders the character and story development. The script by Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz is good, but at times too comfortable and the game scenes lack the excitement needed, especially moving toward the championship.
"A League of Their Own", in some ways, is a missed opportunity considering the incredible talent in the cast, however, even with the missed opportunities it remains a pleasant view with enough laughs and good will to overcome it's fundamental weaknesses.