Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

The Benchwarmers

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for crude and suggestive humor, and for language

Reviewed by: Robbye Fielden

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Sports comedy
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 7, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures Copyright, Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Sony Pictures

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?

Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn
Director: Dennis Dugan
Producer: Todd Garner, Derek Dauchy, Jack Giarraputo
Distributor: Sony Pictures

“It’s never too late to take a stand.”

Copyrighted, Sony Pictures

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.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—This movie was super. It was extremely funny and not in a bad way. I had clean humor much to my shock. There were a few comments about nose picking and other things of that sort, but it was never bad and still funny. Tomorrow, I am going to take my 6 year old and 11 year old to see it.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 2
Jacob Miller, age 35
Positive—This movie was incredibly funny. Sure there was some mild, crude humor, but all this is overshadowed by all the clean humor, and moral value of the characters. This is a great family film that all should see so that we can encourage Hollywood to make more movies like this one.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
James, age 44
Neutral—When I read the brief description of this movie, I thought it was going to be a good one to watch. “The Benchwarmers” may be a sports comedy movie, but it is one best left for the sports-loving men to see. It is clearly not one for younger children to watch and questionable for teens to watch. I was offended by the several messages conveyed in the movie. The “a**” word was used at least five times, statements which used references of body waste, a man who delights himself in eating his boogers and squashed bugs, an elderly man flipping a younger man off, letting out flatulence over another person’s face (two or three references), mowing over a sleeping dog, numerous references of ejecting bodily fluids (including spitting and puking), a man being naked except for his underwear, several suggestions of homosexuality, an alcoholic who can’t keep his drinking problem under control during a baseball game, typical game-related violence, and name-calling (typically done by bullies). These suggestions are not exactly what you would want to teach your children.

The only two good messages I saw which kept me from giving the movie a thumbs down was about apologizing and forgiving people for their past mistakes and overcoming fear. When I saw how many people verbally expressed forgiveness and becoming good friends, I was really moved. This is something that the Lord wants us to do. If we don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive us. The grown son who was afraid of the sun gradually overcame his fear through doing several things which exposed him to the sun. Fear is one of the Devil’s favorite tactics to keep people from moving forward in their life and faith. There are times in life that we must face our fear head on and overcome it. Aside from these two good messages, I felt that my money could be better spent on a movie that doesn’t have as much offensive content.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
Ken, age 39
Neutral—“Napoleon’s” return to the screen was in character with his star. Heder appropriately played a nerd and showed more life than “Napoleon Dynamite”. The boy indeed does have a smile! The jokes were off-color, especially the fartings in the face. Beware of some four-letter words. I would recommend the movie for teens, but nothing younger than 12. Overall, it was a good story. And Jon Lovitz in his supporting role, was exceptional. I would expect no less.
My Ratings: Average / 3
John, age 40
Neutral—I must admit there where several times I laughed out loud during the movie. Overall, I enjoyed it, but was disappointed in parts that I thought didn’t need to be in the movie. I will allow my older kids to go, but not my 9 year old. There are parts of the movie (old man giving the finger, homosexual men together, and several sexual comments) I don’t want her exposed to yet.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Bruce, age 46
Neutral—I just went to see this movie with my fiance and we laughed so much. I liked the theme of acceptance and not always having to “fit into the popular crowd.” That, and being tremendously funny, almost like the “Napoleon D” movie, was the positive side of the movie. There is swearing and nasty comments/jokes, and the wife of Gus wears some low cut shirts that show cleavage (not once is she modest). There is a pre-sex scene where she’s in a cami-top and underwear laying on the bed, wanting to have sex with her husband so she will get pregnant, but nothing more is shown because he declines the invitation. They also show her peeking out of the shower while she’s talking to her husband, and it shows most of her upper chest (the shower door is semi-see through). There was no other nudity than that. I think its just important to talk about the movie (like every movie) afterwards to be aware of what is Biblically sound or what you may or may not agree with.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Stephanie Swan, age 21
Negative—Unfortunately, …my 13 year old son talked me into this movie. This has to be the worst movie I have seen in a long time. Even my 13 year old thought it was bad. The story line was weak at best. The times I did laugh it was because it was so stupid all you could do is laugh. As for foul language, there was not a lot of the 4-letter bad words that we all know… However, every other line was “eat me,” “bite me,” “suck this,”…that kind of stuff. Then they took real big football-player-looking guys that were portrayed as the grown up bullies, and you found out they were into gay activities. No, they didn’t kiss or “show” any physical contact, just talked about it and wore small bathing suits—and they all came out of the closet at the end. Do yourself a favor and go see something else. This is a complete waste of money and time. If you must see it, wait a month and it will be out on DVD.
My Ratings: Offensive / 1
Julie, age 39
Negative—As a mother of a 15 year old boy, I am concerned with the crude and vulgar humor used in this movie. The amount of homosexuals involved in the movie made it sound as if that’s part of life. I’m also concerned with the amount of bullying showed against each other, making it sound fun and giving ideas to kids to become bullies. A scene where the wife was taking a shower was sensual and out of place, needless to say that the scene all together was of bad taste and disgusting as were many other scenes in the movie. Even though at the end of the movie they endorsed repentance—and forgiveness takes place, I don’t think it is needed to exposed our kids to so much vulgarity, and depiction for that message. I definitely give a thumbs down to this movie.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1
Concerned Mom, age 52
Comments from young people
Positive—This is a funny movie that also has a good message not to be a bully. Rob Schneider and David Spade were extremely funny in this movie, and this is also John Heder’s funniest movie he stars in. I recommend this movie to everyone, and if you like Adam Sandler-type humor you will like this movie.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Warren, age 14
Positive—Overall, it was good. A few parts were stupid, but I liked it. If you are 13 or younger you wouldn’t like it.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Gabby, age 13
Positive—If you like baseball, and funny movies, this is the movie to see. It was hilarious. There was no cussing, just mild putdowns were used. The homosexuality in the movie you hear about was nothing but hilarious, it made the big tough guys look like pansies when you found out they were gay, it didn’t portray that it’s normal; it actually made fun of homosexuality. The storyline is not all that great, but who cares? When you have actors like that it just makes the movie great. It was one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. I recommend you see this movie.
My Ratings: Average / 4
Daniel, age 16
Positive—I liked this movie, although would not recommend it to anyone under 13. It had some graphic moments, for instance displays of homosexuality, but it is only discussed. You never see any kind of activity. Most of the humor was potty humor, for instance when Gus joins his wife in the shower to take a leak, so only view this if you enjoy that kind of comedy. As for the movie itself, it had a good storyline, the ending focusing on apologizing for the mistakes in your past etc.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
D.J., age 13
Positive—This film was utterly hilarious. I really enjoyed it. From a Christian standpoint I can understand how a lot of the humor in the movie could be considered crass or objectionable, but still I found it funny. No sexuality and very little harsh language was used in this movie, and little to no serious violence was involved either. It was more like slapstick violence if anything. There were references to homosexuality, but it definitely was not there to support this issue. It merely made fun of it. One thing that I liked about the movie was the main moral of bullying and how they got the point across with humor and without a whole lot of unnecessary speeches that bore the average movie goer. I would definitely recommend this movie to people over the age of 10. Younger audiences might not understand some of the humor involved, but older viewers will get a kick out of this movie. If your a sports fan and love to laugh, then come see “The Benchwarmers”.
My Ratings: Offensive / 4
Cody Heffelfinger, age 15
Positive—I went to see this movie with my friends and then had to go see it a second time. This is a very funny movie with an actual good message to it. Though there are a few cuss words and a little bit of suggestive content, it is very clean for a Hollywood movie. My 11 year old brother went to see it, and he even liked it. I would recommend this to all teens, adults, and mature children. Very entertaining!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Jamey Shelley, age 15
Positive—I thought that this movie was so funny. It’s one of those movies were at school you can just talk and talk and talk about it for the whole period.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Adam, age 13
Negative—Being a 13 year old girl, I enjoyed parts of the movie because they were all so stupid. All you could do is laugh. But other than that, I would not recommend this movie to anyone under the age of 13. There is language, and Homosexuality which is not appropriate what so ever.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
Kelsey, age 13
Negative—It was very offensive. …It was not okay when they used drugs during a baseball game, and when they said “a**” six times. …It was not the best movie I watched this month. It was offensive when one guy was playing on the other team, and he was playing drunk. My opinion is it is not a very good movie to take little toddlers to.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2
Chris Torres, age 11
Neutral—Well, this movie was hilarious, but it could’ve done without the cussing and disgusting parts, especially the guy in the underwear; he was gross. As a 14 year old, I can say this move was okay. It was funny, but just weird. I definitely laughed, oh yeah, but even though I laughed it was just, hmm, how do I describe it, different. …Being a Christian, yes, there was more offensive parts than not. But also being a fan of all genres of movies, I can’t say that it didn’t make me laugh, and I thought it was funny. I dunno, if you like funny movies and aren’t offended to easily than yeah, this movies for you, but if you do kinda get offended and aren’t really one for funnies, than stay away. …
My Ratings: Average / 3
Lacey, age 14
Positive—This movie is the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. The cuss words were not necessary, But the rest was awesome. For ratings, I give this one an A+.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Logan, age 9
Negative—This was a huge disappointment. As Napoleon Dynamite would say, this is pretty much the worst movie EVER. I was also shocked by the many rude jokes (“Beef stew,” throwing up, etc.). If you wanna see a real sports comedy, I suggest you watch “Kicking and Screaming,” see what Will Ferrell has in store. There’s very little you’d miss out on by not watching “The Benchwarmers.”
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
Christian Allbee, age 12
Movie Critics
…Welcome to Adam Sandler World, where groins are for kicking, gas is for passing, jokes are to be choked and jocks are for sniffing…[F]”;
Roger Moore, The Orlando Sentinel
…From the beginning to its very end, even “The Benchwarmers” seems to be struggling to justify its own existence…”;
Gene Seymour, Newsday
…a crass collection of flatulence jokes, nose-picking and potty humor that’s repetitive, poorly acted and ludicrous. It’s so bad, it should be viewed only through a pinhole in a shoebox, much like an eclipse. …”;
Bill Muller, The Arizona Republic