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Click above to purchase "The Scout" at amazon.com

 

The Scout

review by Zach B.

 

Rated PG-13

Running Time: 101 minutes

Starring Albert Brooks, Brendan Fraser, Diane Wiest

Screenplay by Andrew Bergman and Albert Brooks & Monica Johnson
Based upon The New Yorker article by Roger Angell

Directed by Michael Ritchie

Studio: Fox

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Featurette, Baseball Strike Newscap, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Surround 4.0, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection

Released: October 2nd, 2001

Albert Brooks plays Al Percolo, a baseball scout for the New York Yankees who's been down on his luck lately. After thinking he has a great player who is a devout Catholic (a really young Michael Rappaport without his usual way of speaking), the player flops on the field (after he has jitters), much to the dismay of Precolos' boss. However, Percolo is sent to Mexico now to scout, and comes across Steve Nebraska (Brendan Fraser). Percolo finally thinks he's found the one, as Nebraska is an incredible player. However, while it all seems okay, Nebraska has some problems of his own that need to be worked out.

Ah, "The Scout" a movie that bombed and panned way back in the fall of 1994. Personally, I think this movie is overbashed. It's not a great sports movie or a great movie at all, but it does have its moments and it really can be fun. While Brooks co-wrote it with his usual partner Monica Johnson, with additional writing from Andrew Bergman, this is one of his "lesser" films. Brooks didn't direct though, though he stars. Personally, I think he does carry this movie quite well with the material and his acting skills. Some comedic moments are pure Brooks with snappy one-liners and fine dialogue tailored toward him, but much of the script as far as plot could be better. Still, Brooks' comedic timing and acting are worth watching.

A younger Brendan Fraser is good and has good chemistry with Brooks, so they do carry the movie there too. But I just found that the story could have been a bit more believable, and have a little bit more focus on the background of Percolo. Bill Conti's score is pretty good, while the late Michael Ritchie's directing is decent, but he makes it feel too much like a standard comedy. Unfortunately, this movie does not live up to what it has and what it's given. This, if more work was put in, could have been a real classic sports comedy. Still, it's standard and it's left to be ignored... but if you're interested, go "scout" (HAHAHAHHAHAHA) "The Scout."

The transfer for "The Scout" is pretty good. Colors are well saturated and fleshtones seem to be on par with pretty good colors that don't go overboard and don't seem to be underwhelming. However, I felt some exterior shots could have looked a bit more natural, most notably, baseball fields. Still, detail is pretty good and black levels are fine, though there is edge enhancement. There's some slight shimmering and noise now and again, plus blemishes, pieces of dirt, grains and scratches, but this 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is fine for what it is.

"The Scout" has a Dolby Surround 4.0 track that's a tiny bit above average. The sound elements here are good, but this movie could have benefited from a more full Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Dialogue is clear and not distorted, but I felt there could have been more surround activity, especially from the baseball games (as far as cheers and crowds as well as bats cracking). Sometimes I felt the background sounds overpowered what was going on, but you can still make things out okay. Nothing ground breaking, but it could have been better. English and French Dolby Surround tracks are on this release, plus English closed captions, English subtitles and Spanish subtitles.

The usual Fox Featurette is included, it's all promotional, and has clips from the movie, a cheesy announcer and interviews with George Steinbrenner, Albert Brooks, Wiest, Fraser, Ritchie and others. All fluff that is pulled right from EPK materials.

There's also a Baseball Strike Newscap that has clips from the movies, and has interviews with actors joining the film and recaps a little about why strikes happen. There's a promo feel to it.

Rounding it all out are eight TV Spots, the Theatrical Trailer and other Fraser movies under the "Fox Flix" banner: Bedazzled remake, Airheads and Monkeybone.

"The Scout" isn't one of Albert Brooks' greatest films that he has had the pleasure of starring in and contributing to the script, but it's a decent watch for what it is. Still, the price is right, so fans of the movie will want to pick this up.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(3.5/5)

(3/5)

(2/5)

(4/5, NOT an average)

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