Appropriate music enhances the drama of the moment, but it’s broken when Chelsie runs in to remind Tyler of how he forgot his lucky bat. He couldn’t manage to remember that prop which has been referred to several times. He’s now ready, and Kenzie throws a strike. The umpire taunts Tyler, and the next pitch is out of the zone. Tyler and Kenzie trade quiet banter, and she throws another strike. Amanda shows up so Tyler can touch his shoulder since he’s injured. Kenzie throws another bad pitch, and more dialogue is exchanged.
At this point, the music takes a turn and starts to sound like the accompaniment for a fairy tale. The discordant tone foreshadows the conflict that will arise from Kenzie throwing the ball right into Tyler’s back. More epic drums sound like it’s the opening to 2001, and everyone reacts like she just shot Tyler. Amanda rushes over to berate Kenzie and act concerned for Tyler, as if this character isn’t aware that accidents exist. McKinlee (who is not the older sister she discussed earlier) comforts Kenzie for some reason, and walks her off the field. Maybe she’s ejecting her from the scrimmage? Tyler is acting like his arm is paralyzed; how was he cleared to play if a slightly fast pitch can destroy his shoulder?
It’s time for a sad music montage, showing the main characters sitting in shadow while looking forlorn. Tyler is in a dugout holding a baseball, Kenzie is by the outfield sinking against a tree, Tiffany is on her porch drinking coffee, and Brandon is on a couch holding a furry pillow. It doesn’t show Amanda checking her horoscope in the batting cages, Chase looking at porn in his car, or Agent Allan smiling at baseball prospects from the stands, but I think those would have happened if the filmmakers had remembered they were characters.
Kenzie and Tyler think about this movie, but that same mind’s eye memory footage doesn’t exist for Brandon and Tiffany, leading one to wonder why they were included in this montage at all. The filmmakers decided they needed to play this song in its entirety, and quickly ran out of things to show us besides people sitting so they transition to a scene while it’s still going.
Kenzie is at Tyler’s team’s practice playing catch with Chelsie. Did they ever leave the baseball fields? They were probably meters apart from each other the entire montage. Chelsie walks to the dugout to tell Tyler that he and Kenzie still love each other, and Tyler realizes he has to agree because it’s the end of the movie. Tiffany approaches Brandon in the empty church, and it’s time for them to get back together, too. She gives more lame excuses, and asks Brandon to forgive her. He forgives her immediately, and it’s all good. No need for real, back and forth conversation, we just need bland monologuing to get this movie over with because no one inside or outside the film really cares that much.
Back in the graveyard, Tyler leaves Heather’s purity ring from the first movie on her tombstone. Maybe it was haunting him this whole time, and now that he’s walked to his emotional Mordor he can cast it into the metaphorical Mount Doom. I guess Jesus is Sauron in this scenario, while Heather is more like Gollum. The film isn’t bothered with the causal link between loving Heather and possessing the ring, it’s just an easy symbolic idea and that’s good enough. Tyler looked at it in this movie, right? Maybe? No way the filmmakers know the answer to that question.
Now that Tyler has moved on from his dead girlfriend, he can surprise his new one on a baseball field in the middle of her team’s practice. What’s hilarious is that it’s impossible not to see someone coming since fields are pretty big and unobstructed, so Kenzie has to keep her head facing the opposite direction from Tyler’s entrance for a while. This doesn’t stop her from turning her body multiple times, but her neck stays turned away like a cartoon owl. Every moment of her trying to keep the third base side of the field out of her peripheral vision so she’s surprised when he walks up is delightfully absurd. If only there were a place where coaches could have their backs turned away from an approaching person like a dugout. Walking into a busy sports practice to declare love counts as a motif if it happens at the end of each movie, right?
After cramming in more baseball double entendres, Tyler and Kenzie decide they are in love. He has realized that she is his dream, and that it’s not being a professional baseball player. Was he even going to do that? He never had a moment where someone like Agent Allan or Amanda made him choose between love and baseball. He just sits around alone, talks to a teenager, stops having Heather flashbacks, and then he changes his mind from “unsure” to “marriage”.
The onlooking softball team is so happy that they gather behind the two main characters to cheer. It’s not like he asked her to marry him, they just simultaneously admitted they like each other. Maybe the players are happy the movie is over. The camera spins in a circle to end the film, allowing the audience to bask in the ecstasy of young love that is only happening because God killed Heather. That air of ecstasy is dashed when you notice the extras staring straight into the camera. The wild ride is finally over.
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But what are the lessons viewers are supposed to take away from this? You have to marry the first person you consider marrying? Wanting to work your dream job is bad, and God will take it all away to punish you if you don’t choose the right wife? Everything will kind of work out eventually no matter what, so sleepwalk through your life and say Christian buzzwords because it’ll all be okay? Don’t get involved with Christians because God might kill you if you aren’t part of that person’s ultimate purpose? At least Pitching Love and Catching Faith had a concise thesis – kissing is bad unless a couple is within the confines of a serious three-way with Jesus. There is so much half-baked plot and ad-libbed dialogue in this movie that it was never really able to convey a clear meaning.
While this film does use more baseball to move the plot, it fails to do anything else effectively. The characters are not compelling – in fact, they’re often unlikable. Real world mistakes in writing and acting cause their emotions to change wildly to make up for the lack of meaningful action or dialogue. None of the characters seem capable of explaining their beliefs beyond a sentence. Editing and pacing are out the window, and the camera is only there because it’s the singular requirement to make a movie. Camera, costume and production design do nothing to enhance the story or characters.
That’s “So Bad It’s Good” bingo. Romance in the Outfield: Double Play is a masterclass in what to avoid when making a movie.
- So Bad It’s Good: Romance in the Outfield: Double Play - June 26, 2020
- So Bad It’s Good: Pitching Love and Catching Faith - May 17, 2020
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