Those stakes are immediately neutralized when Agent Allan says, “Nah, you’ll be fine”. How has this changed our character’s conflict? Why not just say, “If you work hard and focus on baseball, the Angels may decide to bring you back at the end of the movie forcing you to choose between playing baseball and being with the girl over there who’s about to enter the scene”? That’s exactly what the movie thinks it’s about, so why not use the actual story beats necessary to tell that story? It could set up a montage of real physical training for a full song. Maybe it could lead to real theological or philosophical discussion about what a person should do in this sort of situation? Is this a Romantic Christian Sports Drama or not? No one should have to deconstruct your work to understand the most basic thematic questions.
He almost married your sister and is currently your coach…
Chelsie cannot believe that Tyler is upset that his professional baseball career might be ending. She doesn’t treat him with any sympathy, she tells him it’s not the end of the world and that coaching this softball team is awesome.
Is this the film telling viewers that what they’re going through isn’t so bad because there are good things that come out of it? Maybe don’t be so dismissive of people’s feelings, movie.
He does literally nothing other than baseball, and he’ll definitely be out of a job when that coach friend he’s doing a favor for comes back from knee surgery. Tyler pulls out his phone to stare at a picture of Heather in the middle of this conversation, which is wildly inappropriate. What a stupid way to show that he’s thinking about Heather.
Kenzie comes up to remind us that Tyler owes Kenzie a kiss (based on the results of their last game of strike out/home run showdown), and then she starts trying to get out of the thing she just brought up to… show him how it feels to not want to be kissed?
Tyler is very insistent upon kissing her right there and then, which is a jarring turn for this character who has previously been defined by his chastity. I don’t understand what’s holding characters back from dating each other, especially when they already act as if they’re dating. This happens in the previous film, too – the two love interests do almost nothing except spend alone time together while doing “will they, won’t they.” Does she need Tyler to promise he’ll never play baseball again? It’s not like he’s training or preparing to do that, so maybe she shouldn’t worry so much.
Now they have to discuss the scrimmage their teams are playing against each other later in the movie, and he almost calls her McKenzie again! Apparently that is her actual name, but she goes by Kenzie.
Thus begins the most confusing improvisational tangent where she tells us how her older sister is named McKinlee (we’ll come back to this name) and that they’re always confused with one another, though she doesn’t understand why her parents named them so similarly and then followed up with Chelsie… what a waste of precious screen time.
Have them both say lines that were written down for the movie, and leave mistakes for a blooper reel.
What’s worse is that Tyler doesn’t know any of that information because he has never met her family! Why is this family always concealing important romantic relationships from family members? Since Tyler couldn’t remember her name, Kenzie walks away angrily. That means there was conflict, but we learned nothing about how the upcoming scrimmage will affect the stakes of the movie or why it matters.
Time must have passed, because Tyler has facial hair now. He’s at the batting cages whining to the trainer who uses motivational speaking to heal wounds. She wants to know the next part of Tyler and Kenzie’s backstory. It cuts to the past, and they’re eating dinner in the batting cages. Kenzie loves it because no one has ever done something you’d see in a cheesy rom-com for her before. Tyler gives her a custom white and gold softball glove that bears her name. The colors must be symbolic of purity and holiness, otherwise this is the ugliest glove in existence for no reason at all. Tyler gets down to propose with baseball terms when he gets a phone call…
It would be one thing if he immediately pulled it out, but Tyler fumbles in his pockets trying to locate his vibrating phone for a solid minute. If it was a spoof comedy, that would be excellent timing, but it’s out of place in a romantic Christian baseball drama.
Tyler’s agent is calling him (no word on whether it’s Agent Allan or not. It’s not him if he’s the same character as Ron Allen who scouted for the Angels), and he walks off. We have no idea what is said to him, or how that leads to him ditching a proposal “for baseball” when he wouldn’t become a professional until later. Tyler didn’t get visited by Ron Allen until the first movie, and he was “accepted” into the minors off-screen shortly after. This is a vital backstory element that contradicts the series’ own canon, and no one could be bothered to write dialogue so that any of it makes sense. This scene is the crux of the conflict between Kenzie and Tyler, and it appears that he left her alone in that batting cages to date other chicks and play more community college baseball. Why does she have any interest in this man?
Trainer tells Tyler that he can’t keep blaming himself for not marrying her, and that someone who really loves a person supports their dreams. That may sound like good advice, but the trainer will not be a good guy in this movie – she will continually come between Kenzie and Tyler as if the trainer likes him, but she’s only trying to get him to play baseball. What is it that makes playing baseball the wrong answer in this movie? Is he putting it before God? Is having a job bad if it stops you from marrying? Why should Tyler give up his dream for someone he clearly does not care about?
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The next scene shows that this movie actually got a church!
Tyler – now beardless – is sitting in a pew while sunlight flashes around him. Light as a symbol for God’s presence is the simplest tool in the Christian filmmaker’s belt, and it’s surprising how little effort it would take to use lighting to say something about the characters and their relationship with God. Tyler asks for this difficult situation to pass from him like Jesus before his Crucifixion, because this love triangle is exactly as pleasant as being nailed to a cross. After he says a couple of lines to himself, Kenzie walks up to have more backstory conversation. This dialogue reveals that Kenzie went through a divorce, and that she was mad at God, Tyler and her other ex.
Huh? When was she married in relation to her near-engagement to Tyler? Don’t think about it too much, no one else did.
Kenzie wants to be with him, but he is sad and has visions of Heather. Then he calls her Heather (but he can never remember her name so who cares?), and then explains that he was too lazy to pick up Heather and she died in an accident with a drunk driver.
We’re 43 minutes into this film, and the protagonist casually mentions that he blames himself for the death of his girlfriend, the protagonist of the other movie…
You wouldn’t know it from 95% of his performance, and wasn’t he off playing professional baseball by 2018? Why not use that baseball career as the reason he couldn’t save her instead of laziness? It wouldn’t be as weird if it actually mattered to the character or his emotional arc, but it doesn’t. What’s really important is that he’s glad to have Kenzie back. It must be her job to help him overcome his trauma with the power of love.
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