Reviewed by: Robbye Fielden
What advice do you have for new and growing Christians? Answer
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer
If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?
|Featuring:||Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn|
|Producer:||Todd Garner, Derek Dauchy, Jack Giarraputo|
“It’s never too late to take a stand.”
Nerds are known for their complete lack of sports abilities. When Gus (Rob Schneider) and Clark (Jon Heder) see a whole little league team bullying some young nerds for the use of the baseball field, they step in to defend the recipients of “beef stew” (flatulence directed at the victim’s face). The encounter creates a desire to play a quick game of baseball, but when Gus and Clark return to the field with their friend, Richie (David Spade), they instead find themselves playing the young baseball team of bullies for rights to the field. Gus has enough baseball skills to defeat the arrogant athletes, and they celebrate a victory for nerds everywhere.
After a celebratory dinner of pizza, Gus, Richie, and Clark encounter the millionaire father of one of the nerds they had protected earlier that day. The grateful dad, Mel (Jon Lovitz), devises a plan to give all nerds the freedom to play ball anytime they want. He asks this newly formed baseball team, who he dubs The Benchwarmers, to play in a tournament against the meanest teams in the state. He ensures all teams’ participation by offering a brand-new, multi-million dollar stadium to the winner.
Needless to say, when the stereotypical mean and arrogant jocks are pitted against the stereotypical nose-picking nerds, a great deal of trash-talking ensues. Unfortunately, the trash talking is not limited to sports abilities; instead, both the nerds and the jocks resort to insulting weight (“good catcher of doughnuts in your mouth”) or lack of sexual experience (with a reference to a blow up doll), among other things. The members of The Benchwarmers team incur other nicknames and insults such as, “The Three Muske-queers,” “douche bags,” “a retarded paper boy,” and “a gay video store clerk.”
There are two incidents of violence associated with this rivalry: A baseball team tackles Clark after his bat unintentionally damages their coach’s car. And a jock knocks the head off of a sports store mannequin after trash-talking with Richie and Clark.
As The Benchwarmers prepare for the tournament, their trainer employs several pranks to improve their baseball skills. For speed, the group rings doorbells and runs away as fast as possible. For hand-eye coordination, they practice mailbox baseball while standing in the back of a moving truck. (Kids, don’t try this at home). Additional pranks seen or mentioned in other parts of the movie include (but are not limited to) pulling another player’s pants down during a baseball game, attacking others with animal feces, wedgies, titty-twisters, and the aforementioned “beef stew.”
The movie contains several other potentially objectionable incidents. Early in the movie, Richie is working as a video store clerk and is discussing a movie recommendation with a client. She complains about the lesbian sex scenes in the movie, and his response is, “Isn’t it hot?” One of Richie’s co-workers is an elderly man who uses a walker, forgets his pants, and flips his middle finger at Richie. At another point in the movie, one team of jocks, who find themselves losing to The Benchwarmers, bribes the umpire to allow a drunk Puerto Rican jock (yet another stereotype) to join the game. In order to outsmart this late addition to the roster, Richie sends his agoraphobic brother, Howie (Nick Swardson), to the store for beer and tequila and provides it to his rival as a “gift.” The Puerto Rican man is also seen smoking during the game and extinguishing the cigarette on his tongue.
Another undertone that may offend viewers is the implication that one of the jock coaches is homosexual. He is seen on several occasions with a man in a Speedo, and, though no statements are made to confirm their sexuality, the man in the Speedo asks if anyone wants to wrestle. The homosexual undertones carry to a few of the other jocks as well.
Of the three Benchwarmers, we learn the most about the non-baseball life of Gus. There is a sub-plot involving Gus and his wife’s Liz’s (Molly Sims) desire to conceive a child. There are discussions involving ovulation, timing of the sexual act, and going “all the way.” The couple is also depicted in the bedroom together (he in his boxers and she in a silk nightgown), but there is no hint of sexual activity in the scene. In another risqué scene, Liz is in the shower while she and Gus continue the discussion about a child. At the end of the scene, he joins her in the shower.
There are approximately four uses of sh**, five uses of a**, one use of he**, and two uses of a form of the word bi***. There are also occasional slang references to male and female anatomy.
In the midst of the language and crude and suggestive humor that earned this movie its rating, there are some lessons taught through the plot. One character states that “life’s about learning lessons.” A pivotal scene involves Gus having to see the results of a poor choice that he made earlier in life and apologize for those actions. The audience is told that, “life is too short to harbor hatred.” Unlike many movies today, this movie doesn’t hide the consequences of bad behavior. The take-away message is that bullying hurts, and everyone deserves a chance to play baseball and be cheered on by a crowd. These aspects of the story could lend themselves to discussions of how we must all face the consequences of our actions, but we can be free of the eternal punishment of sin through faith in Christ. Christ offers us forgiveness when we believe in Him and ask for His forgiveness.
The trailers for this movie are not misleading. It is a slapstick sort of humor that deserves its PG-13 rating “for crude and suggestive humor, and for language”. Expecting any real moral content from this film will lead to disappointment, as its value is in the humor alone. In this reviewers’ opinion, it is not appropriate for viewers under 13, even with parental supervision. Mature teenagers can probably handle the content and recognize the inappropriate behavior so as not to repeat it. As always, it would be ideal if an adult can view the movie with a teen in order to facilitate a discussion at a later time. As for adults, if you enjoy other films from Happy Madison Productions (the production company that Adam Sandler began — “Grandma’s Boy,” “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” “The Longest Yard,” “50 First Dates,” “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” etc.), this will be up your alley. As a nerd myself, I enjoyed some laughs.