InsidePulse DVD Review – The Benchwarmers

image courtesy of
Dennis Dugan

Rob Schneider….Gus
David Spade….Richie
Jon Heder….Clark
Jon Lovitz….Mel
Craig Kilborn….Jerry
Molly Sims….Liz
Bill Rmanowski….Karl
Reggie Jackson….Himself
Nick Swardson….Howie

Sony Home Entertainment & Revolution Studios present Benchwarmers. Screenplay by Allen Covert and Nick Swardson. Running time: 85 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: 2006. DVD released: July 25, 2006.

The Movie

When I first saw the trailer to this film, I was reminded of the scene from Dracula where the Count’s three brides are draining the blood out of Jonathan Harker. Benchwarmers promised the vision of decaying Saturday Night Live alumni David Spade, Jon Lovitz and Rob Schneider sucking the heat off Napoleon Dynamite. I couldn’t stomach seeing this orgy of middle aged men pouncing on a youthful star when it was released theatrically. But I thought this might be worth a glance on my modest TV.

Benchwarmers is beyond normal mindless entertainment. This is the type of film that’s run in coma wards in the hope that patients will awaken and demand the channel be changed. No logical thinking human was involved in the creation of this film. Nothing makes sense on any level. Yet somehow we’re expected to believe that this nonsense qualifies it as a comedy.

The story starts with three loser guys (Schneider, Spade and Heder) challenging a little league team for the right to play on a neighborhood field. Spade and Heder are complete sissy boys when it comes to the game. Schneider is a one man team with his ability to smack home runs and strike out the 12 year old kids. The old guys win. They end up playing more little league teams coached by major league jerks. Lovitz appears as a rich nerd who wants his revenge on the bully coaches who attacked him back in school. He sponsors the trio in a tournament against other kiddie teams. He even hires Reggie Jackson to train Spade and Heder. This is the only funny part of the film. There’s plenty of booger picking, projectile vomiting, feces on the cheeks, beef stew farts and other forms of crude behavior that insure this won’t be picked by Masterpiece Theatre.

The movie seemed to be developed for Adam Sandler, but he got wise and passed this property onto his good friends to keep them busy and make a nation suffer for not accepting Spanglish. It’s easy to see him in Rob Schneider’s role of a baseball phenom who never had a chance to shine because school bullies keeping him off the field. It’s also easier to think that Sandler might be married to Molly Sims. Why would a supermodel be married to a runt who mows lawns for a living? Sure they call him a landscaper, but he doesn’t have a crew. And to top it off, Molly is desperate to have Rob’s baby. This is a film that’s severally detached from reality.

My biggest question of the film is why don’t the little league teams walk Schneider? Heder and Spade are automatic outs. And Schneider racks up a dozen homers a game. Why are they pitching to him? Who pitches to Barry Bonds when the game is on the line and the bases are empty? Am I really supposed to believe that a nutjob, jock coach won’t intentionally walk him to get to two strikeout kings?

There are other issues with the film. Where is the funny in a 42 year old man leaping and nailing a 12 year old in the face with cleats? Sure the kid is wearing a catcher’s mask, but it’s not like this kid just killed Spade’s sister. No kid deserves to get spiked in the grill by a guy in a Dorothy Hamill haircut. This film could have been funny with one minor change – it should have been about this pack of adult dorks taking on a league of hardcore softball guys. How exactly are we supposed to root for a pack of underdogs that are physically attacking pre-teen boys? Since Benchwarmers made nearly $60 million at the boxoffice, there’s a chance that this trio will return to pound Pop Warner footballers next season.

There needs to be an award given out to screenwriters Allen Covert and Nick Swardson for selling a script this stupid. They’re also the literary wonders that scribbled out Grandma’s Boy. In an alternate universe, these two should be on trial for crimes against humanity. But in our world, they are protected since they are friends of Adam Sandler. Forget an award, they should name a flesh eating bacteria after them.

I tried see if the film was funnier in different languages. The United Nations coming out of Schneider’s yap doesn’t improve the humor. Although I did learn that there is no Thai word for lesbian. The only smart thing involved in this movie was Adam Sandler hiding behind the camera and only producing this travesty. If your into cruel, vulgar, brain dead comedy, you must own this DVD. Remember that Benchwarmers will be repeated to death over the next decade on cable. You won’t be able to escape it.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in Anamorphic 1.85 widescreen.

The Audio:

This film is presented in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and Thai (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). There’s a director’s commentary with Dennis Dugan. He does not apologize. David Spade and Jon Heder provide the cast commentary. Where was Schneider? Was he picking through Sandler’s recycle bin for his next starring project? Subtitles are in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai.

Special Features:

Nerds Vs. Bullies (5:46) – David Spade thinks that Benchwarmers will show that being a nerd is not an uncool thing. Spade declares that he was beat up by bullies. Damn shame they didn’t finish the job. Sadly enough, not one person associated with the production was a childhood bully. Bill Romanowski acts like he was a nice guy. This is a brute who attacked teammates in the NFL. Mr. October (8:11) – The cast gets a chance to gush over Reggie Jackson. The baseball Hall of Fame legend talks about training the trio. You can even spot Adam Sandler chatting with Reggie on the set. Oddly enough no one talks about Reggie’s performance in Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Guess they didn’t want to have to mention O.J.
Play Ball (6:03) – The cast talks about baseball. Pretty boring.
Who’s On Deck? (2:39) – Every second that Nick Swardson was on screen gets clipped into this featurette. His mom must be thankful that she doesn’t have to watch the entire film.
Deleted Scenes (2:45) – I find it hard to believe that a film that’s barely 78 minutes long before end credits had less than 3 minutes of deleted scenes. Of the four scenes, the only one worth watching is Reggie Jackson getting scolded by an old lady.

InsidePulse’s Ratings for Benchwarmers
(OUT OF 10)