The Benchwarmers

Bomb Rating: 

Here's a list of director Dennis Dugan's last four films: "The Benchwarmers", "National Security", "Saving Silverman", and "Big Daddy". Seriously, what does a guy have to do to lose work in Hollywood? Clearly, drugs and hookers aren't enough - not that Dugan has been involved in either - but I'm just saying that they aren't a professional death sentence. Bad work apparently has nothing to do with anything in Hollywood either. A director can seemingly make as many bad movies as humanly possible and somebody will keep on hiring him. Why doesn't that work in the real world?

From what I can figure, a Hollywood big shot needs to either kill somebody or have people be reasonably sure that he's killed somebody. Neither O.J. Simpson nor Robert Blake has gotten any work recently that I know of. I guess that means that Dugan is just going to go right on torturing audiences for as long as he's capable of getting behind a camera.

"The Benchwarmers" is just another in a series of idiotic films in Dugan's oeuvre, not to mention the oeuvres of Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder. This is really a shame for Heder, who is capitalizing on his "Napoleon Dynamite" fame to do nothing more than repeat the role for more money. Like Schneider and Spade, he's clearly a one-note wonder.

It's hard to believe that anybody could arrange for so many people who can't act to be in one film together, but give Schneider, Spade, and Heder credit. Though they are all one-dimensional actors, they actually manage to surround themselves with people who are significantly worse than they are, including Craig Kilborn, Jon Lovitz, Bill Romanowski, Sean Salisbury, and a fair number of other ESPN personalities.

Basically, the film is about three guys who play baseball against a wide range of kids' teams that are full of bullies. So, it's Gus (Schneider), Richie (David Spade), and Clark (Jon Heder), against a full team of kids. Only Gus is any good and he pitches and hits home runs and they win games. Mel (Jon Lovitz) whose kid is a geek, puts up money for a tournament and "The Benchwarmers" take on a variety of kids' teams coached by the likes of Kilborn, Romanowski, and who cares who else.

The idea for the film sounds bad enough on paper that somebody should have asked the postmodern question: even though this idea is ridiculous, doesn't it actually go beyond the realm of stupid ideas into some other realm where nobody is going to be able to follow the logic of any of this and even if they do, won't they be too confused to care? The answer, of course, is yes (I think). The stupid, geek schtick is so tired that watching this movie feels like melting. You just sit there and your muscles begin to atrophy and your eyes glaze over and you find yourself sitting there several minutes after the film has ended hoping your neurons will begin firing again and you'll actually be able to send the right signals to your feet to walk out of the theater before the hell starts all over again.

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