Undrafted is a feel-good movie about a rag-tag bunch of losers who care too much about something that doesn’t matter. In this case: baseball. Baseball in adult amateur leagues on Long Island.

Maz (Aaron Tveit) is the titular undrafted ballplayer, and the plot consists of his realizing over the course of seven innings that he loves baseball after all, and doesn’t want to stew in bitterness for the rest of his life. That’s not really much of a plot, and given the rest of the ingredients it shouldn’t be much of a movie. And, to be fair, The Natural this ain’t. It’s not even Bull Durham.

This movie, however, suffers from very few of the usual problems of similar, small productions–the writing isn’t painful, and the pacing is surprisingly good. The boys on the team have compelling chemistry, perhaps because the team is made up of Aaron Tveit and dudes who have been in TV shows with Aaron Tveit (Chace Crawford as Barone, Manny Montana as Zapata). And, either because or although it is based on a true story, which is often the kiss of death, the quirks of the various players are both specific and touching. Attempted verisimilitude about human foibles is generally dreadful, but not here. Vinnie (Jay Hayden) bugs the living hell out of me, but I know guys like that, so I let it go.

It gets a little heavy-handed and cheesy, of course. I mean, the guy who wrote it about his brother is in the movie. Maz has an at-bat that lasts about half an hour because it has to rehearse his entire life and devotion to the game. Almost everyone gets a little speech about how great baseball is. Somehow, though, it mostly comes off as genuine.

Oh, but if you don’t like baseball…I hope you have a really big crush on Nate Archibald, because there’s not much else here for you.

Stray observations:

  • Cute baseball socks.
  • They sing the League of Their Own song. It is mesmerizing.
  • Full disclosure: I had to turn off the trailer in the middle out of embarrassment (it doesn’t matter why I was watching it). And then I mentioned to a friend that Tony Romo was an executive producer, and she made me buy it. Ten minutes later I was going to demand the price of it in reparations, but eighty minutes after that I decided that wouldn’t be necessary.

Director: Joseph Mazzello
Rating: ? Quite sweary.
Length: 90 minutes
Score: bats awful, but has an OBP of .379

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