Try to imagine "Bull Durham," if it had a much less dirty mind, and you'll get an idea of what "Major League: Back to the Minors" is like. That's not to say this sequel is that good, but it's better than you might think.
In fact, if the writing was better, and the film was funnier, it could have topped "Major League," one of 1989's most unexpected hits. It's certainly miles better than the awful first sequel, 1994's "Major League 2," which is probably a relief to returning stars Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haysbert, Tak-aaki Ishibashi, Eric Bruskotter and Bob Uecker.A quick note to Salt Lake Buzz fans: If you're going to the movie for references to the team, you'll be sorely disappointed. The uniforms featured in the film are genuine Buzz apparel, but the action is set in South Carolina and there are no real Buzz players in it.
Scott Bakula ("Necessary Rough-ness," TV's "Quantum Leap") stars as Gus Cantrell, a burned-out, minor-league veteran pitcher. He's given the chance to manage the Triple-A South Carolina Buzz, to develop the talents of Billy "Downtown" Anderson (Walton Goggins), a talented but arrogant prospect.
However, Gus also turns the group of perennial underachievers into a real team, which impresses his longtime friend and current Minnesota Twins owner Roger Dorn (Bernsen), but rankles his longtime rival, Twins manager Leonard Huff (Ted McGinley).
In the interest of filling stadium seats, Roger goads the two into staging a game between their respective squads - and to everyone's surprise, the Buzz playeres hold their own. That is, until a suspicious power outage abruptly ends the contest.
The event is so popular and the rivalry so heated that the two men agree to hold another game, one with even higher stakes.
Obviously there's no attempt at realism here (it is a sports comedy, after all), and the action is pretty formulaic. But Bakula is charming and there's some genuine warmth in his character's relationships with the team members, as well as with longtime girlfriend, Maggie (Jensen Daggett).
Unfortunately, filmmaker John Warren's script is lacking in real humor. There are a few goofy moments that may bring a couple of smiles or chuckles, but not nearly enough of them. And the "wacky" music that underscores each gag doesn't help.
"Major League: Back to the Minors" is rated PG-13 for profanity, vulgar gestures and gags and violent fist fights.