Big Lead Sports Bar


Let Me Ruin Benchwarmers for You

I don't mean to go Bill Simmons on you, but I decided to treat the Mondesi's House faithful to a movie review. Actually, it's more a warning, bordering on a Public Service Announcement.

The Mondesi's House reader appreciates the marriage of sports and comedy. I'd imagine many of you also read sites like
Deadspin, The Mighty MJD, and Sports Pickle, which manage this feat quite well. That being the case, I would also imagine many of you have similar senses of humor to mine. So when I heard of a baseball movie featuring David Spade, Jon Heder, and to a much, much smaller extent, Rob Schneider, I thought it would be good for a few cheap laughs. Among them, they have given us such gems as Tommy Boy, Napoleon Dynamite, Deuce Bigalow, Black Sheep, and one of my TV favorites, The Showbiz Show. So I figured it was worth a shot.

Boy, was I wrong.

Benchwarmers was released on April 7, 2006, trying to coincide with the start of the MLB season. Amazingly, this movie has taken in $62 million worldwide at the box office, according to Apparently, the marketing must have worked, because people weren't coming to this movie for the script.

I hope you got a boatload of money for this one, Spade

After witnessing a cliched grade-school band of bullies picking on the nerdy son of an eccentric millionaire (played by Jon "Subway..Eat FRESH!" Lovitz), the dorky trio decides to play the bullies for the use of a ballfield. Apparently the "Benchwarmers" were all picked on as a kid, never played, yada, yada, yada.

They only chose Lovitz because Kevin Nealon was unavailable

I wondered how they would strategically set up on defense, being that there were only three of them and nine opponents. Schneider was the pitcher, Spade was the catcher, and Heder manned center. No first baseman. Why? Don't need one! This is the point when this movie morphs from Benchwarmers into the new title of Rob Schneider's Fantasy. Schneider promptly strikes out every single batter, and hits a home run every time he bats. And these were over-the-fence homers. Neither Spade nor Heder can even manage to make contact, yet they still win in a landslide, thanks to the incredible skills of Schneider.

After beating a bunch of grade-schoolers at baseball, Schneider then goes home to his wife, SI Swimsuit model Molly Sims. Yeah, this is becoming more and more of a Schneider fantasy with each passing moment.
Just call her Mrs. Rob Schneider

If that wasn't bad enough, they show more games. And Schneider strikes out every batter and hits a home run every time he is on camera, while Heder and Spade fail to contribute in any way, shape or form. The Schneider slugger angle gets really tiresome after, oh, I don't know...his 35th homer!!

Heder is the Jose Hernandez of the Benchwarmers

This was just a ridiculous premise for a movie. I mean, seriously, who green-lit this? Is Hollywood so bereft of ideas that this was the best they could do? I realize that this movie is meant for kids, but even as a kid, I wouldn't have enjoyed this. And the movie was rated PG-13, with some inappropriate scenes and language for smaller kids, so it looked like they were trying to reach some of the general comedy audience as well.

Spade lacked any of his trademark biting sarcasm. Heder was a Napoleon Dynamite knockoff. Schneider was Nolan Ryan crossed with Babe Ruth in the body of David Eckstein. The movie was a giant product-placement vehicle for Pizza Hut. And to top it all off, we were treated to Dan Patrick, Sean Salisbury, and Bill Romanowski on the big screen. What, were Chris Berman and Neil Everett busy? Of course, Salisbury's character was gay, so as many of you will definitely point out, that didn't require much acting. For the population that contributed to that $62 million take, I hope you asked for a refund on the way out of the theater. This movie had almost as many non-actors onscreen as the Longest Yard remake. If your movie is mentioned in the same breath as a film that cast Michael Irvin, Nelly, and Peter King, that's not a good thing.

Patriots, Brady, Belichick, Favre, Patriots, Brady, Belichick, Favre, Patriots, Brady, Belichick, Favre. Now you don't have to read Peter King's column this year.

So please, please, save the $3.99 rental and 90 minutes of your life and run away from this DVD at your local Blockbuster. It's not as bad as sitting through a Pirate game when Shawn Chacon is starting, but at least that's free. This movie was so bad, I broke my own rules about Pittsburgh-only content on this site in order to warn the masses. If I save one of you from this train wreck, it was worth it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads-up but I was never in danger of seeing "Benchwarmers." Hands down the best baseball movie about nerdy kids that for some reason no one ever talks about is "The Sandlot." Heck, it's one of the best baseball movies period, kind of to baseball what "A Christmas Story" is to holiday movies.

I mean, it has James Earl Jones in it, and he doesn't even have to spout all the pretentious hogwash he does in that OTHER, duller baseball movie he's much better known for. I break up my daughter when I lower my voice to James' register and say "The only constant, Ray ... is basssse ... ball. This game ... this field ... this pretentious crap."

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice how the Bully teams pitcher looks exactly like Zack Duke? The only difference is the kid is right handed and has better mechanics.

Anonymous said...

Did he have a hand-drawn moustache like Duke?

GM-Carson said...

Best part of the movie- the farting scenes where they can taste what the farter had to eat...other than that, a lot what left to be desired.