** Too Many Foul Plays **
Release Date: April 07, 2006
Starring: Rob Schneider, David Spade,
Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig
Kilborn, Molly Sims, and Tim
Genre: Numskull Comedy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 85 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Dennis Dugan
Executive Producer: Barry Bernardo and Allegra
Producer: Adam Sandler and Jack
Writer: Allen Covert and Nick Swardson
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, Chairman/CEO
Amy Pascal, Chairman - Motion Picture Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Columbia Pictures/TriStar/Screen Gems)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000
Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
Schneider plays Gus Matthews, the owner of a gardening company who defends a boy, Nelson, being bullied by a team of Little Leaguers on a baseball field. The experience awakens Gus's love for baseball, and he gets his two nerdy adult friends, Richie and Clark, played by David Spade and Jon Heder, respectively, to join him at the field to hit a few balls. Richie and Clark have no athletic skills whatsoever, but Gus can hit the ball out of the park.
While they're playing on the field, the Little League team shows up, demanding to have the field. Gus notices their coach isn't with them. He refuses to give them the field and challenges the team to a game. When the lead bully says Gus only has three players, Gus retorts that it should be easy for the bully's team to beat them, then. Gus turns out to have strong pitching skills as well, and they easily beat the Little League team with Gus striking the boys out and Gus hitting home runs nearly every inning.
Nelson's billionaire father, Mel, played by Jon Lovitz, hears about what Gus and his two friends did. He tells them he used to be a nerd who was bullied, but got his revenge by becoming vastly wealthy. Mel proposes that Gus and his friends challenge all the major Little League teams in the state to a tournament, to give hope to all the bullied nerds and benchwarmers who never got a chance to play baseball. The prize will be a professional-size baseball field that Mel will build with his own money.
The buzz builds as Gus, Richie and Clark win the games. Nerds and benchwarmers everywhere start listening on the Internet to a play-by-play visual account of the games broadcast by a computer-savvy boy and girl. Gus has a secret, however, that threatens to destroy everything.
The athletic hijinks in THE BENCHWARMERS are funny and relatively clean. Schneider, Spade, Heder, and Lovitz do a good job of getting plenty of good laughs. The movie also contains a strong moral message about relieving the pain that bullies can cause, as well as a message about the importance of asking forgiveness from other people you have harmed.
These positive elements, however, are laced with scatological humor and foul language. There are also some jokes about dwarves that people may find offensive. Finally, the movie strongly implies that two of the villainous coaches are homosexual. At one point, another coach hires an alcoholic ringer from the Dominican Republic, who is sad because his wife left him. Later, in a scene where the bullies have reconciled with the nerds, there is a shot of this man holding hands at the Pizza Hut with another man. Thus, although in the rest of the movie some of the villains are homosexuals, there is a light tone of implied political correctness to this scene. It's the so-called politics of "inclusiveness," where homosexuals can become part of multicultural America. Anything that excludes homosexual activity is considered mean.
Thus, MOVIEGUIDE(r) gives THE BENCHWARMERS an extreme caution. This movie is not for children, even though, judging by the audience of parents and children at the screening we attended, the movie will attract children and is perhaps being marketed to children.
The athletic hijinks in THE BENCHWARMERS are funny and clean. Schneider, Spade, Heder, and Jon Lovitz do a good job of getting laughs. The movie also contains a strong moral message about the evils of bullies. These positive elements, however, are laced with some scatological humor. THE BENCHWARMERS also contains jokes about homosexuality and dwarves. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE(r) advises extreme caution. THE BENCHWARMERS is not a movie for media-wise moviegoers.