It’s not hard to sympathize with businessman and Little League coach Bob Muzikowski, who tried to stop Paramount from releasing this poignant and sometimes cute feature based on a book by Daniel Coyle about a Chicago league Muzikowski cofounded in 1991. Muzikowski was apparently concerned about the behavior of a coach (Keanu Reeves) and the language of some of the kids, and how this would affect the perception of the real league—but then a movie that doesn’t distort its source is a figment of the imagination. The story seems familiar: down-and-out white guy is redeemed through service in poor black community. Reeves, a gambler in debt up to his eyeballs, accepts money to coach a Little League team so he can keep the enforcers at bay, and one role of the players, black residents of a Chicago housing project, is to help bring about his character’s development. A wide shot of the deserted diamond after a highly dramatic plot point shows the filmmakers realize that playing baseball isn’t nearly enough to fix what’s wrong in these kids’ lives, which might have made a more provocative ending than what follows: a sequence advancing the more reassuring idea that while it may not be enough, baseball is something. Brian Robbins directed a screenplay by John Gatins. 106 min.