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Calvin Marshall (DVD Review)

21 Aug, 2010 By: Daniel Xu

Prebook 8/24/10; Street 9/21/10
Passion River
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language and brief sexuality.
Stars Steve Zahn, Alex Frost, Michelle Lombardo, Jeremy Sumpter, Cynthia Watros.

For the local softball team, Calvin Marshall (Alex Frost) is a star. He helps the coach train the kids and signs autographs for the fans. When one child asks him how he gets so good, he refers to his hard work.

This dedication is the reason why Coach Little (Steve Zahn) of Calvin’s junior college baseball team hesitates to cut Calvin for the third time in three tryouts, despite his obvious sub-par abilities compared to other aspiring players.

Yet Calvin is cluelessly persistent, and his single-minded passion sets up a non-formulaic coming-of-age story that touches on several fronts: Calvin’s love interest and volleyball prospect Tori Jensen (Michelle Lombardo) struggles between caring for her ailing mother and pursuing her athletic career, and Coach Little searches the bottom of a glass for his unfulfilled Big League dreams as an ex-Minor League player.

As a sports movie, however, Calvin Marshall offers little action. Writer-director Gary Lundgren seems determined to make a point of Calvin’s lack of baseball talent by showing nothing beyond his failures during tryout and training routines. Fortunately, the focus on the film’s characters comes through, especially in the performance of Zahn in a role quite different than his usual slapstick comedy act in bigger-budget pictures. Coach Little’s disappointment in himself for both his own flaws and his inability to help Calvin succeed gives this indie a much needed dimension to lift it above being a mediocre sports flick.

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