Stars: Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Brenda Fricker, Ben Johnson, Jay O. Sanders, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Lloyd. Written by Dorothy Kingsley, George Wells, Holly Goldberg Sloan. Directed by William Dear. Rated PG.

To get the ball rolling in the new Disney flick "Angels in the Outfield", a young boy named Roger who lives in a foster home prays to God to let the last place California Angels baseball team win the pennant. He does this because his low- life father, who rarely visits, has made a half-hearted promise to take the boy back permanently if the Anaheim-based team can pull off this seemingly impossible feat.

The very next day Roger, attending an Angels game with his young friend J.P., seems two real angels swoop out of the sky and lift up a fielder who would have otherwise missed catching a fly ball. Because he was the one who offered the prayer, Roger is the only one who can see the angels. Before long the leader (Christopher Lloyd) of this particular band of angels arrives to explain to the boy just what is happening. As yet unaware that he is supposed to keep mum, Roger tells the Angel's manager, George Knox (Danny Glover), about the divine help his team has just started receiving.

At first a skeptic, he IS an adult after all, Knox eventually comes around and listens to the young boy for advice as to who to place in the line-up or who should be the starting pitcher for the game. The Angels, accordingly, go on a hot streak lasting several games. When J.P. inadvertently spells out the team's winning strategy to a sports announcer, the media wind up having a field day. But this serves as a rallying point for the team to stand behind their manager whose position, despite unparalleled success, is in jeopardy because of the angel controversy.

With its suspect ethical approach, "Angels in the Outfield" sends a mixed message at best because there's nothing remotely religious going on here. The angels in the film exist solely to help the baseball team cheat their way to the pennant. The fact that the angels bow out of assisting the team in the playoff game itself does little to alleviate the flagrance of their previous unsportsmanlike conduct.

Of course, the film doesn't stop at cheating. When his star pitcher needs a confidence boost, the team's manager thinks that it's just fine to trick him into believing that he has celestial help. In a better film this might have been an inspirational move, like giving the flying elephant in "Dumbo" a supposedly magic feather. But here it seems like nothing more than what it really is, a lie.

"Angels in the Outfield" isn't offensive or outright sacrilegious, but neither is it fun. Adults will find themselves quickly bored with this baseball fantasy and their kids won't be far behind. It'd be better to see "The Lion King" a third or fourth time than to sit through this fluff.

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