A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls is a 2019 comedy in which a former baseball player tries to lead a ragtag group of misfit coworkers to victory on the softball field. This sequel is only distantly related to the 2006 original; the only returning character is played by Jon Lovitz. Expect crass humor, often rooted in sexual innuendo. The stereotypically gay player on the team makes and reacts to anything that might be construed as double entendre. The "sexy female" player makes a series of baseball-themed double entendre, and punches a teammate in the face when she mishears him say the word "bunt." Humor is mined out of the lead character's promising baseball career being cut short when a fastball hits him in the testicles. A sportscaster refers to a rival team as the "Platap-ssies." Besides the constant innuendo, there's also occasional profanity: "pr--k," "ass," "nuts," "nards," "crap," "hell," "douchebag." Some drinking, including the stereotypical Canadian player who's drinking and drunk on beer in almost every scene. Drug reference. Running joke concerning the suicide of the previous manager of the softball team.
What's the story?
In BENCHWARMERS 2: BREAKING BALLS Ben McGrath (Chris Klein) is a minor league baseball phenom on the verge of making it to the big leagues when an errant fast ball hits him in the crotch and ends his career. Ten years later, Ben is a struggling landscaper, a single dad whose ex-wife despises him while his only son thinks he's a loser. After passing the bar, Ben thinks his life is finally starting to turn around when he's hired by the most prestigious law firm in town, but learns that he has only been hired by the hyper-competitive Stenhouse (Lochlyn Munro) to play on their championship company softball team. No longer able to stand in the batter's box without having flashbacks of his career-ending injury, Ben is soon unemployed again. While drowning his sorrows in a bar, he meets Mel (Jon Lovitz), who runs an ambulance-chasing law firm and offers Ben a job. Ben accepts, and is soon paired with the attractive intern Annie to look into nefarious dealings involving a sewage treatment plant on the verge of being built in the middle of Annie's rough-and-tumble hometown. While engaged in this, Mel recruits Ben to manage his firm's cellar dwelling softball team. The team is a ragtag group of misfits who don't seem to understand the fundamentals of softball, but with Ben's coaching and a couple montages, the team begins to win, culminating in the championship game against Stenhouse.
Is it any good?
While no one is expecting this movie to be a future classic, this sequel manages to fall far short of the lowest of expectations. There's so much humor drawn from stereotypes, it almost seems like a parody of similar comedies from the 1980s. Viewers old enough to remember the wink-wink humor of Paul Lynde on assorted 1970s game shows will be almost impressed that a movie is trying to get away with a token gay character attempting similar innuendo and entendre almost half a century later. When not engaged in stereotypes like Canadians who drink too much beer, the movie goes for a kind of crass humor that might be funny if it wasn't both obvious and overdone.
The story itself is the kind of paint-by-numbers predictable drivel that makes one wish that the screenwriting how-to book Save the Cat had never been written. To be clear: This isn't a bad movie due to subjective taste and the inherent bias of those who aren't fans of "dumb" comedies. It's simply a trite and unfunny movie, somehow even worse than the original. If it had enough awareness to be a parody of "underdog" movies, maybe there would be something worthwhile about Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls, but instead, the result is a lazy attempt at comedy completely devoid of an original thought.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sequels. Why are sequels almost always so much worse than the original movie? Are there any sequels that are as good, if not better, than the original?
How does Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls use stereotyping in an attempt to be funny? Can humor drawn on stereotypes ever be funny?
What are some other examples of "underdog" movies? How does this one compare to other "underdog" stories you've seen?
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