‘Mr. 3000’ ends up in foul territory

By Gus Bode

Directed by Charles Stone III

Starring:Bernie Mac, Angela Basset, Paul Sorvino

Running time:1 hour, 44 min.


Rated PG-13, for sexual content and language

2 1/2 Gus Heads

It’s practically impossible for sports movies to avoid being formulaic, and “Mr. 3000” definitely won’t surprise many viewers.

But while focusing on the very real problem of individual sports stardom superseding the importance of teamwork, the movie does manage to tell a light, heartwarming tale.

It’s a small-scale and occasionally uninspired film, but it draws enough from its strength, the lead played by Bernie Mac, to ultimately make “3000” a good sports comedy.

Mac plays Stan Ross, one of the greats to play for the Milwaukee Brewers over the years. He was known as a selfish player, whose only goal was to beef up his own stats whenever at the plate. Whether or not he helped the team was merely a by-product of his constant ego trip.

In 1995, Stan reached a career pinnacle:3,000 hits, which is a benchmark statistic for getting into Cooperstown. Fast forward nine years later, and Stan is living off of his reputation as an entrepreneur, but the press hates him and he is still waiting to be voted in to the hall of fame.


On a fluke, it seems that one of the games that Stan played wasn’t “official”, negating the three hits. This means he only has 2,997 hits, and the one sure thing he had going for him is gone.

But wait, Stan has a plan.

He will come back at the age of 47 and get those three hits he needs. The road doesn’t prove to be easy, as his age and his body are both factors, but the front office executives see his situation as a way to get fans in the seats, so they find a spot for him on the team.

The best aspect of the story, which Mac runs with, is that Mr. 3000 has to relearn everything for himself. He has little support from his best friend (Michael Rispoli), his old flame (Angela Bassett), and his team manager (Paul Sorvino), all of whom either remain silent, act unsympathetic or simply doubt Mac’s character flat-out.

Sorvino’s character speaks no more than a few sentences throughout his appearances, and Rispoli, the comically dressed sidekick mostly just shrugs and says, “Do your thing, man,” when he’s asked for advice.

Mac is a comic player of immense timing and even while the film’s plot is going through the motions, he manages to make the most pedestrian scenes fresh. Mac shows that he is also solid talent as a dramatic actor.

Transforming himself from an amusingly despicable person to an emotionally struggling one, he proves that he can do more than just make us laugh. In fact, performs better as a serious character than a funny one in Mr. 3000.

And even as clich as Stan’s character is Mac simply plays the part genuinely. He offers moments of crass self-indulgence and humbled sweetness that allows the audience a chance to connect.

Angela Basset, who unfortunately isn’t given that much to do, seems that she can hold her own with the massive screen presence that Mac permeates throughout the film but never really distinguishes herself as more shallow or empathetic as Mac’s character.

There are moments in “Mr. 3000’s” script that seem authentic, but the film abandons the sentiments in the very next scene. The politics of the game, from the dealmakers to the coaches, is used quite well, especially when highlighting the reasons that the Brewer’s would take him back at the ripe old age of 47.

“Mr. 3000” is formulaic and flawed, but it hints at a combination of “The Natural” and “Major League.” It delivers, for the most part, a good story, but doesn’t realize its aspirations. It can still please the crowd without doing so.