Review: 'Screwball' takes comical look at baseball's doping scandal

A-Rod, others played by children in comical documentary

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
FILE - Former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore signed a letter of intent Saturday to buy the Timberwolves and keep the NBA team in Minnesota.

Baseball's steroid scandal was such a perfect sham of big money, conflicting interests, crack doctors, bootleg criminals and Florida ridiculousness that it could literally be reenacted with children in adult wigs and it would work. 

That's what director Billy Corben does with "Screwball," his humorous documentary about Tony Bosch, the fake doctor (Bosch prefers the term "unlicensed physician") who doped up some of baseball's heaviest hitters, including Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez, and saw his empire taken down by a professional tanner whom he scammed for $4,000. 

In a sense, it's the ultimate "Florida Man" story.

Bosch, who studied medicine in Belize, saw an opportunity to skirt around Major League Baseball's steroids rules by championing "microdosing," in which clients experienced all the benefits of steroid use but left no traces of drugs in their systems. 

This made him very popular not only among professional ballplayers but also average Floridians and teenage athletes, whose parents brought them to Bosch to help them gain a competitive edge over their peers. 

Corben ("Cocaine Cowboys"), who uses a conversational, playful style to tell his tale (he introduces a clip of George W. Bush by referring to him as the "2nd worst President of the United States"), lets children play the characters in his story, including Bosch, A-Rod, and a pair of Florida thugs. 

It's a distracting choice at first, but as his tale unfolds, the decision makes more and more sense. He's getting ahead of the story by letting you know how wacky it is, and letting the truth catch up to him. 



Not rated: language, drug use

Running time: 105 minutes