CRACKED Reviews: The Benchwarmers

If you've seen any of the previews for The Benchwarmers, then you already know the whole story. The entire plot is as complex as the tag line: three twenty-somethings play baseball against little leaguers. However, having very little going for it plot-wise doesn't stop the film from having some wonderfully hilarious throw-away gags and non sequiturs to make it as moderately amusing as any of Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Production's other recent films (50 First Dates, Anger Management).

The story follows Gus (Rob Schneider) as he attempts to teach his friends Richie (David Spade) and Clark (Napoleon Dynamite) about the joys of baseball. He is accosted by some pre-teens he had previously chided for farting in the face of a nerd and for some reason a baseball game is challenged. Gus proves himself able to pitch and hit better than the twelve-year-olds and the nerd Gus stuck up for turns out to have a multi-billionaire father (Jon Lovitz). The three men get the funding and the training they need to take on the nation' little league teams in a tournament where first prize is a brand new stadium.

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The story would be the weakest part of the film if it ever took itself seriously. Like most Happy Madison productions, the film takes place in a wonderful world of wealth where having money affords the protagonists the ultimate luxury: prolonging adolescence indefinitely. The absurdity is never drawn into question or poked fun at, thus never distracting us from the fart jokes.
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What the film lacks in a structured plot it makes up for in a non-stop stream of throwaway jokes that anyone can laugh at. Every actor looks like they're having a wonderful time, which makes it all the more enjoyable to watch.
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Rob Schneider seems to relish playing the straight man for once. Or maybe he' just not funny. Either way, it' his best role in a while because it requires the least out of him. John Heder shows his range by playing the Napolean Dynamite character with straighter hair instead of curly hair. Jon Lovitz' billionaire gives him a platform to be smugly self-righteous, which, as usual, he does extremely well. Craig Kilborn also appears in The Benchwarmers and is used moderately as a smug asshole, and screenwriter and stand-up comic Nick Swardson has a small role as Richie' agoraphobic brother.
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The Benchwarmers is not a great comedy, but it is a solid hour and a half of laughs. At the very least, it' pleasant to watch, a quality that has recently become rare in the comedy genre. Instead of going for big laughs, it succeeds at the small ones, and if you normally enjoy Adam Sandler flicks, you'll walk out of the theatre feeling generally amused, and that ain't bad.
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