Hardball (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Hardball (2001)



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

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.more
Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements, language and some violence)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: John Gatins
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 19, 2002
Box Office: $39.7M
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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' Be...
DeWayne Warren
as Jarius G-Baby Evans
Bryan C. Hearne
as Andre Ray Peetes
Julian Griffith
as Jefferson Albert Tib...
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
Mark Robert Ellis
as Waatas Coach
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Hardball

Critic Reviews for Hardball

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (33)

A smarmy proposition passing itself off as family fun in the style of The Bad News Bears.

September 18, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Works where it counts, on the emotional level.

Full Review… | September 17, 2001
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Does surprisingly few lurches as it walks the tightrope between urban realism ... and family entertainment.

Full Review… | September 17, 2001
New York Times
Top Critic

A charming sports drama that's more about humanity than the joy of winning.

Full Review… | May 30, 2013
Cinema Crazed

Had Paramount played more team ball, they coulda been a contender

Full Review… | February 24, 2011
Old School Reviews

This umpire calls Hardball out at first base.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

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

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

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

Super Reviewer

Hardball Quotes

Ray-Ray: Coach Conor? You're not really trying to get Ms. Wilkes, are you?
Conor O'Neill: No.
Ray-Ray: Good. 'Cause I already tried and she ain't havin' it.
G-Baby: Yeah, me too.
– Submitted by Alexandra L (5 years ago)
G-Baby: All right, let me break it down to you right quick.
– Submitted by Alexandra L (5 years ago)
Conor O'Neill: One of the most important things in life is showing up, and I'm blown away with your ability to show up.
– Submitted by Jason G (5 years ago)

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