Review | Moneyball

Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon

Opens: Friday 9/23

Us Rating: ***1/2

When it comes to winning in baseball, does it truly matter how you play the game? That's the debate posed in this intelligent drama, which is so riveting that even non–sports fans will get emotionally invested. Based on the 2003 book of the same name, it focuses on charismatic, real-life Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt). Following the 2001 season, he teams up with a recent Yale grad (Jonah Hill) to construct a new club of contenders on a peanut-size budget.

Their formula? Find “misfit” players, who, based on statistics, will likely reach first base and score runs. But make no mistake: This is a rousing underdog story, not a math class. Despite a few slow-moving ebbs (hey, it’s baseball), the mix of locker-room banter and on-the-field euphorics entertain. Best of all, there's Pitt. Whether he's guitar-shopping with his tween daughter or chewing out a stubborn manager, he embodies the role of a failed ball player turned unorthodox businessman. It's his best performance in ages, and that alone is reason to stand up and cheer.