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Angels in the Infield DVD Review

Buy Angels in the Infield from Amazon.com Angels in the Infield
Movie & DVD Details

Director: Robert King

Cast: Patrick Warburton (Eddie "Steady" Everett), Brittney Irvin (Laurel Everett), Kurt Fuller (Simon Claire), Rebecca Jenkins (Claire Everett), Duane Davis (Randy Fleck), Colin Fox (The Devil), Beau Starr (Gus), Peter Keleghan (Dexter Deekin), Dan Duran (Rex Lombard), David Alan Grier (Bob Bulger)

Original Air Date: April 9, 2000

Running Time: 89 Minutes / Rating: TV-G
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Aspect Ratio)
Dolby Surround 2.0 (English, French)
Subtitles: English, Spanish; Closed Captioned

Release Date: April 6, 2004
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5); White Keepcase
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99; Reduced from $19.99

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The third and most recent installment in the series,
Angels in the Infield feels a lot closer to Disney's terrific 1994 film Angels in the Outfield. That's not merely because it returns to the professional baseball diamond (like the first film) rather than high school football (second film, Angels in the Endzone). Things seem promising from the beginning: the odds are bigger, the performances are stronger, and the comedy is much sharper.

Patrick Warburton (The Emperor's New Groove, "Seinfeld") is as cool as ever, playing Eddie Everett, a slick has-been pitcher for the fledgling Anaheim Angels. "Steady Eddie" is thrown a curveball when his ex-wife (Rebecca Jenkins) moves east and leaves behind Laurel (Brittney Irvin), the teenaged daughter she has been raising on her own for nine years.

Steady Eddie Everett (Patrick Warburton) takes a cell phone call in the middle of the national anthem. Eddie's daughter Laurel (Brittney Irvin) takes ballet classes.

Infield seems on the right track, with Warburton's irresistible smarm providing laughs early on and the plot set in motion. Naturally, Laurel prays to God to send some help to her father with his career and life. She gets Bob Bulger (David Alan Grier), an angel from above who was an "up and coming" star pitcher, who after some misdirections and a life cut short, is seeking redemption while providing assistance to the Everetts.

The twist is that the squad of angels that have been sent down to help is a B-team of sorts. They're rusty and need to sharpen some skills in order to be of any use to the Anaheim Angels. The heaven that they come from appears to be made out of mashed potatoes, so perhaps better facilities above would have made them more adequately prepared.

Eddie tries to make things right with his daughter, while simultaneously, the Angels begin winning and have a genuine shot at getting the wild card entrance to the playoffs.

The girl can see David Alan Grier...can you? Eddie rewatches his glory days when he was a mustachioed young pitcher

The film goes awry with two bad turns in the second half. One brings in the Devil, who begins to provide obstacles for the angels and the Angels. In theory, it seems like a decent idea,
but it's just not a direction in which the film should go. Up to this point, it had remained a solid family/drama/comedy, and the horror/fantasy elements just detract from it.

Secondly, Infield begins to focus heavily on the daughter and her ballet exploits. The character, as played by Brittney Irvin, is without a doubt, the most annoying of the three children who can see the angels. The parts with her character crawl to a drag, and the ballet subplot stretches the rest of the film thin.

On the plus side, David Alan Grier does a commendable job in the Christopher Lloyd-type head angel role. His character is fleshed out a bit more than Al, and Grier manages to succeed at both the comedic and dramatic material. A noteworthy supporting performance is turned in by Kurt Fuller (Principal Takes a Holiday, Ghostbusters II), whose performance as Eddie's agent calls to mind Taylor Negron's screwball from the first film, but is played with a bit more energy and a bit less slapstick. Best of all, and worth mentioning again, Warburton is a treat, with his unique humorous presence the film's highlight.

Back on that phone again... Somebody forgot to pack sunscreen!

VIDEO and AUDIO

Video quality was generally good, and better than Angels in the Endzone. The picture is sharp and clear, just not to the degree of theatrical presentations. Colors were more vibrant than the other made-for-TV Angels film, but there was an issue with color shimmering from time-to-time. There really aren't any other problems to speak of with the video quality. It's nearly great, but a lower than theatrical budget is probably what separates it from flawlessness.

Presented in Dolby Surround 2.0, it is a fine audio presentation. Dialogue is clear, and the film's occassional use of music is effective and makes use of the rear channels, at times. There are some pretty good sound effects. This DVD preserves the film's soundtrack just like it was on TV, and is perfectly satisfactory. There is also a French dub for this telemovie in 2.0 Surround.

The "Angels in the Infield" DVD Main Menu

EXTRAS

The disc opens with a 90-second trailer for live action Disney movies, highlighting the studio's films from the last few years like The Rookie, Holes, Tuck Everlasting, Freaky Friday, Remember the Titans, Snow Dogs, and The Princess Diaries. This is also accessible from the main menu as "Sneak Peeks."

The insert, authoritatively called "DVD Guide", promotes Angels in the Outfield, Angels in the Endzone, and The Rookie on one side and lists Infield's twelve chapters on the other.

The menus are static 16x9 frames.

I don't care for that term 'greasemonkey.' My zipper got stuck.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

This third film in the Angels series stars strongly enough, and I had hopes that it would recapture the spirit of the winning original film. It does weaken throughout, but it's still more inspired than the previous made-for-TV sequel. Fans of the film will certainly be glad to own this on DVD, and those who enjoy Disney's Angels in the Outfield will be glad with at least a rental of this.

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Related Reviews:
Angels in the Outfield (1994) | Angels in the Endzone (1997)
The Rookie (2002) | The Big Green (1995) | Balloon Farm (1999)
Mr. 3000 (2004) | The Emperor's New Groove (2000) | Kronk's New Groove (2005)
Get a Clue (2002) | Cadet Kelly (2002) | Halloweentown & Halloweentown II (1998, 2001)

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Reviewed March 27, 2004