Not Your Usual Dream Chase
The great flaw in the peddling of the American dream, especially in the movies, involves not acknowledging what one should do when the dreams can't be achieved and the staggering ratio of the unachieved to the achieved. In Sugar, the title refers to the nickname of Miguel Santos (Algenis Perez Soto), a young man who trains in a baseball camp with his fellow potential star athletes in their native Dominican Republic.
Once in a while, scouts will select a handful of promising players to receive their version of a golden ticket -- the chance to play in the American minor leagues. It would be no spoiler to reveal that Sugar and several of his friends get their chance, but how far will each of them go?
Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck approach their subject with solid realism while taking the opportunity to imbue their characters with some color -- it's cool to see that Sugar isn't some humble kid wishing upon a star; instead, he's a pretty cocky young guy with anger and entitlement issues. But we also realize an ego like this is only the base requisite for this career path -- first one must believe to be better than all the rest and then follow through.
It is surprising, though, what kinds of obstacles appear to derail the dream, and Sugar stands apart from other sports movies by showing this. Not your usual film about chasing the American dream, Sugar gains mileage instead from a more sober brand of inspiration while imparting wisdom in the form of welcome reality checks. (Capsule review)
(Released by HBO Films and rated "R" for language, some sexuality and brief drug use.)
Review also posted at www.windowtothemovies.com.