Sitting down in the theater for The Benchwarmers, I pretty much knew what to expect: A simple, sophomoric comedy with a few gross out moments. On that note, I was not disappointed. I’m normally not a big fan of these types of movies, but despite several groan-inducing gags and more than one vomit scene, Benchwarmers had enough entertaining moments to keep me smiling in the theater through most of the flick.
The premise is simple enough, if not believable in any way: Three adults, two of whom are so mentally and physically inept that one wonders how they function in every day life, let alone on a baseball field, take on the best little league teams in a baseball tournament, playing 3 against 9, in an effort to defend the “nerds and geeks who never get a chance to play.”
Benchwarmers is right out of a ten year old’s fantasy world. The inept duo suddenly become good baseball players, the trio finds a “former nerd billionaire” played by Jon Lovitz, who backs them up with all sorts of gadgets, including a talking robot played for a host of cheap laughs, and the final game includes a “lesson” about nerds and jocks getting along.
Yet, there are more than a few moments that made me smile, including a very funny cameo by baseball great Reggie Jackson, a great scene mocking the little league world series scandal a few years back where one of the kids turned out to be over the age limit, and a heartwarming final scene where everything comes together at the local pizza parlor. I should also mention the great over the top performance by ESPN announcer Craig Kilborn, as the now stereotypical overly-demanding little league coach who pushes his kids to win at all costs.
This movie certainly isn’t winning any awards, and at times felt much like one of those adaptions of a Saturday Night Live skit that goes on a bit too long, especially when Tim Meadows walks on screen. However, if you go in expecting a silly, whimsical flick, there’s certainly enough here to keep you happy for ninety minutes.
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