Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Benchwarmers

Strike a Pose!

The main reason why I would want to go watch a movie like this, which I'd bet 95% of the movie-going audience would prefer to avoid, is actually to check out what it's done to its premise. You see, a group of friends and I had an idea which we wanted to short-film, and the trailer for The Benchwarmers was so strikingly similar. Not that the story is rocket-science to begin with, but it's sometimes helpful to check out how a treatment ended up with its release.

Telling the story of 3 losers who one day decide to stand up for a little guy, The Benchwarmers established their roots and take one for the Nerds, as they go up against a fistful of Jocks whom they're playing a baseball field for. Needless to say, this is the usual Nerds Vs Jocks type of movie, with a strange setting that all nerds grow up to be rich nerds, while the jocks all end up effeminate and enjoying loads of tittie-twisties.

Why? Don't ask, because this movie earned its cred belonging to one of those politically incorrect gross comedies, making fun of little people (Verne Troyer, better known as Mini-Me, makes an uncredited appearance), the dumb, people who speaks with saliva spewing out from their mouths, and recycling the usual toilet humour like beef-stew farts. But for the fans and geeks of Star Wars, it's a wet dream come true as there are tons of props used from the movie, as well as well-known vehicles making short appearances, like the Batmobile from TV's 60s Batman, and the 1980s KITT from Knight Rider.

While production values isn't exactly great - I thought at some points the movie seemed to be glued together from various separate and distinct scenes (during the outtakes, you realized that there were plenty more scenes shot which did not make the final cut). There are various unnecessary subplots, like Schneider's screen wife wanting to start a family (not that I'm complaining), but these points start to wear off as they're neither funny nor important to the main event.

Themes like friendship and forgiveness make its usual rounds, and there's a little "mystery" worked into why Schneider's Gus Bus is the only player amongst the trio who seem to be able to play baseball, and be so good at it too. Other than that, the rest of the characters are stereotypical, bordering on the insane most of the times.

What surprised me was the ending, as the usual good guys triumphing over the evil dudes isn't played out as it's expected to be, which of course, is at least a refreshing change. Again, not that it's a whoa! moment, but it's different enough to let one up for the nerdy kids, which perhaps is the message this movie wants to spread - to let all kids have an equal opportunity to get out there in the sun, and have some fun, never mind their level of competency in the sport.

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