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Jonah Hill in 'Moneyball': Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week

October 5, 2011 |  1:50 pm

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in 'Moneyball'
Besides baseball and Brad Pitt, there’s another reason to see "Moneyball": Jonah Hill. As the pin-striped statistical wizard helping Pitt’s Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane refine his game, Hill steps to the plate, shifting from slacker comic to serious actor.

I wondered whether he would be able to make the leap. There weren’t many clues in his early work -– "Knocked Up," "Superbad" and the like. Instead, Hill seemed destined to be relegated to slacker sidekicks.

Even in "Cyrus," as a man-child trying to derail his mom's latest romance, Hill still seemed like he was playing a variation on that "type." There were hints there might be something more when the actor played straight man to Russell Brand's comic outrages in "Get Him to the Greek," but it is with “Moneyball” that something fundamental has changed.

In this very appealing sports drama, Hill is three-piece-suit smart, going toe to toe with Beane and turning baseball's conventional wisdom on its head. Pitt is terrific. Baseball is always good for a few innings on screen. As for Hill, the new look fits him like a glove.



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-- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo caption: Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in "Moneyball." Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon / Columbia Pictures-Sony / Associated Press

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