Sunday, August 20, 2006

Movie Review: The Benchwarmers

U.S. Release Date:
Running Time: 1:20
Rated: PG-13 (Crude humor, Language)
Cast: Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Molly Sims, Tim Meadows, Nick Swardson

Director: Dennis Dugan
Producers: Adam Sandler, Jack Giarraputo
Screenplay: Allen Covert, Nick Swardson
Music: Ian Grushka, Waddy Wachtel
Studio: Sony Pictures, Revolution Studios

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To use any words like “hilarious,” “comical,” and “side-splitting,” in critiquing The Benchwarmers would be an utter overstatement. More appropriate vocabulary would be: “below-average,” “immature,” and “ho-hum.” Adam Sandler’s production company’s latest attempt to combine comedic actors and throw them into an open-field of unfunny sketches and sports clichés is not worth your investment—be it 80 minutes or 80 cents.

Landscaper and husband of a beautiful blonde (Molly Sims), Gus (Rob Schneider), suddenly gets the idea to teach his nerdy friends to play America’s pastime. His pals are video-store clerk Richie (David Spade) and paperboy Clarke (Jon Heder). Considering Richie and Clarke never stepped foot on a baseball diamond, Gus has a lot of coaching to do. But, Gus’s time is limited when their three-man team is challenged by a full squad of Little Leaguers.

After achieving victory and beating a bundle of twelve-year-old jocks, former nerd and current billionaire, Mel (Jon Lovitz), organizes a tournament in which the three “Benchwarmers” will play a wide variety of Little League teams to win a new stadium. Then again, the other coaches are willing to do anything to win.

Any film whose strongest secondary characters consist of a little person who builds sculptures made of peanut-butter, a kid who incessantly gleets computer-generated spit, and an agoraphobic brother who screams at the sight of the sun and eats sun-block, can’t be taken seriously. In addition, when the plot is sprinkled with scenes like a projectile baseball bat killing three squirrels, a goat’s turd smeared on the face of a kid, and a dog being ran over with a lawnmower, your bad-movie radar begins to beep. Furthermore, familiar sports faces like Bill Romanowski, Sean Salisbury, Craig Kilborn, Reggie Jackson, and Dan Patrick further lower the already unsatisfactory acting level of the production.

It is understood – even before watching the film – that The Benchwarmers is one of those movies that require you to leave your brain at the door. Nonetheless, bearing in mind the nonstop juvenilia you are forced to endure, your brain feels used rather than amused. Packed with outright crude, stupid humor, The Benchwarmers is far from being a standout Happy Madison production and close to being the “goat’s turd” it so eloquently speaks of.

Unless words like “poop” and “dingleberry” make you immediately roll with laughter, The Benchwarmers supplies nothing more than a few mild chuckles. It’s a pathetic rehashing of Bad News Bears dusted with character hints of Napoleon Dynamite, Deuce Bigalow, and Dickie Roberts. Enough said. (* out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2006