Hardball (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes


Hardball (2001)



Critic Consensus: Although Hardball contains some touching moments, they are not enough to transcend the sports formula.

Hardball Photos

Movie Info

Television actor-turned-director Brian Robbins follows up Varsity Blues (1999) and Ready to Rumble (2000) with another sports comedy. Keanu Reeves stars as Conor O'Neill, an underachiever and inveterate sports gambler who needs a bailout loan from a friend to pay off his mounting debt. As a condition for receiving the necessary funds, Conor is saddled with coaching a corporate-sponsored Little League baseball team for underprivileged youth in Chicago's notorious Cabrini Green housing project. Reluctant at first, Conor slowly begins to enjoy his new authority role, especially when he makes the acquaintance of his players' attractive teacher, Elizabeth Wilkes (Diane Lane). Based on the real-life chronicle Hardball: A Season in the Projects by Outside magazine editor Daniel Coyle, Hardball also stars D.B. Sweeney and Mike McGlone.

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Keanu Reeves
as Conor O'Neill
Diane Lane
as Elizabeth Wilkes
John Hawkes
as Ticky Tobin
Michael Perkins
as Kofi Evans
Brian M. Reed
as Raymond `Ray Ray' Bennet
DeWayne Warren
as Jarius G-Baby Evans
Bryan C. Hearne
as Andre Ray Peetes
Julian Griffith
as Jefferson Albert Tibbs
A. Delon Ellis Jr.
as Miles Pennfield II
D.B. Sweeney
as Matt Hyland
Brian Reed
as Ray-Ray
Mike McGlone
as Jimmy Fleming
Carol Hall
as Pearla Evans
Jacqueline Williams
as Lenora Tibbs
Freeman Coffey
as Darryl Mackey
Sammy Sosa
as Himself
Mark Ellis
as Waatas Coach
Paul Turner
as Bartender
Kwame Amoaku
as Pizza Guy
Vince Green
as Other Pizza Guy
Greg Sandquist
as Barber's Son
Michael B. Chait
as Straight-Laced Kid
Adam Tomei
as Barfly
Ronnel Taylor
as Gang Member
Sterling Brim
as Sterling
Josefus Duanah
as Tough Kid
Jeffery Oatlin
as Tough Kid
View All

News & Interviews for Hardball

Critic Reviews for Hardball

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (39)

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.

May 13, 2020 | Full Review…

[Keanu] Reeves is often mocked for his blankness, but that quality is an asset here.

May 13, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Director Brian Robbins' film ultimately seems as uninterested in penetrating the graffiti-scarred walls of its Cabrini Green setting as its white-bread protagonist is.

May 13, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

This umpire calls Hardball out at first base.

December 24, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

[Keanu] Reeves doesn't strike the right chord -- you never get the feeling he's not acting.

March 10, 2003 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Even if "Hardball" is mostly soapy formula at its core, it's a formula that at least finds a satisfying groove.

October 12, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hardball


It's an incredibly dumb urban sports movie that tries to cover racism and male comradery. Keanu Reeves plays a gambling low life who gets stuck coaching kids, so it's nothing you haven't seen before. I can tell that it wasn't supposed to be good, but that doesn't make it okay.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

This hard-edged little dream deserves plenty of credit for avoiding the light comedy and fairy-tale conclusions by which underdog sports sagas usually are known, and would deserve an even higher rating were it not for Keanu Reeves's wooden (as usual) performance in the lead role. Really fantastic and emotional home run story.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer


It took me a week to come out with a rating on this one, and I still can't decide whether it's a pretty good movie with some really bad parts, or a bad movie with a few really good parts. The screenplay seems decent, but the dialogue is rough; Keanu Reeves is mostly bad, Diane Lane is mostly good. The sports scenes are more cliched and contrived than in any sports movie in recent memory - who makes up bristol board signs and cheers THAT much for little league baseball?? - but the "ghetto scenes" got away from the cliches that one usually sees in films with that subject matter and are surprisingly raw. All in all, the contrast the film draws between the hopelessness of day-to-day life in this particular community and the magic of baseball is very striking, and almost too stark for the film to hang together. The potential in this film is what keeps you watching, and though its execution is questionable, you don't really lose faith in the story, and I think most people will stick it out rather than turn it off. Most people.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

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