Benchwarmers, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -2 1/2

Cast: Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Molly Sims, Tim Meadows. Comedy. Written by Allen Covert, Nick Swardson. Directed by Dennis Dugan.

Well, I get letters. Some are nice, some not so. And then there are the surprising ones. A few PREVIEW ONLINE readers actually requested that I go see this movie. The fact that critics werent invited to early screenings is evidently not sufficient warning for some moviegoers. Nor is the ensemble cast of Rob Schneider, David Spade, Molly Sims and Tim Meadows. So, I went to a matinee. You all owe me $7.00.

The film concerns a trio of thirty-something nerds brought together by a fellow geeky classmate who happens to be the billionaire father of an aspiring 10-year-old geek. He asks his friends to form a three-man baseball team and go up against kid teams. (The fact that that makes no sense is supposed to be the funny plot nucleus.) These three stooges then face their ineptitude and the hazing of bullish jocks as they play team after team. Hilarity ensues. Well, it was supposed to.

The resulting humor is derived from things like one of the players not being able to swing at a ball without the bat flying into car windows, knocking squirrels to their death and hitting fellow players in the crotch. Other humor comes from a running gag where the chief bully is a closet gay, his he-man boyfriend always dressed in the briefest of bikini underwear and making suggestive remarks to other men. And lets not forget the flatulence jokes. They abound.

Schneider and Spade (sounds like a detective agency) have had success as losers on Saturday Night Live and in several creaky movies aimed at the adolescent male, but their talent is best suited for supporting roles or comedy sketches where audiences can easily suspend disbelief. Perhaps that is because the movies they have chosen do not allow them to act or even care if they are able to portray honest feeling. In this or any other movie, Spade seldom delivers a simple declarative sentence without winking to the audience. And that pretty much sums up the attempt here. One leaves the theater thinking these guys had more fun making the movie than we did watching it.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There are several slang terms for genitals. A few other crudities, but most of the objectionable material is derived from visuals, including nose picking, groin-grabbing, feces jokes, vomiting and spitting.

Obscene Language: 4 s-words and 20 or so minor expletives ranging from damn to crap.

Profanity: The colloquialism oh my God is heard five or more times.

Violence: Slapstick shenanigans consists of people falling off things to others being hit with a baseball bat, usually in the groin. Indeed, lots of things are thrown at the groin, this being the zenith of the films humor.

Sex: There is some kissing, but a great deal of talk about the subject.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: The two men say suggestive sexual remarks on several occasions. There are several conversations between a man and wife concerning the difficulties they are having getting pregnant.

Drugs: A man puts out his cigarette on his tongue. This same man drinks while pitching, getting drunk.

Other: None

Running Time: 80 minutes
Intended Audience: Grownup boys

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