What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Benchwarmers is premised on adult men behaving like angry children. The movie features repeated adolescent jokes. There's some profanity and many sexual references. An adult eats his nose boogers and a bug; bullies fart on target-boys; agoraphobic character mocked repeatedly for being pale (afraid of the sun, whiny, and fearful); joke about urine looking like "apple juice"; one boy spits when he talks (Schneider imitates, supposedly to make boy feel less strange, but mostly to prolong a feeble joke); one coach appears "gay," as if this undermines his macho behavior. The games include slapstick, hard-thwacking violence: bats hit bodies, heads, and squirrels in a tree (sending them flying apparently to their deaths); balls hit bodies, bare hands, and heads.
What's the story?
In THE BENCHWARMERS, athletic landscaper Gus (Rob Schneider), aging video-store clerk Richie (David Spade), and nose-picking newspaper delivery boy Clark (Jon Heder) -- form a baseball team to challenge the bullies who pick on neighborhood nerds. Though Clark can't hit or field and Richie can't hit or catch, Gus is a power hitter and hot-shot pitcher too, and so the Benchwarmers beat all comers. Their self-appointed mission catches the attention of another adult nerd, now a "gazillionaire," Mel (Jon Lovitz), who buys the three players uniforms, a traveling bus, and equipment, and apparently funds the kids who broadcast the games over the net, which allows for repeated shots of other nerd children watching on their laptops.
Is it any good?
An Adam Sandler movie without Adam Sandler, The Benchwarmers offers the worst of all worlds. While nerds all over appear to cheer on the team, the Benchwarmers only recycle the same problems as the nerds face when they are bullied. Beating the bullies plainly humiliates them, but how satisfying can that be? Certainly, the "good teams" players don't deserve the verbal abuses they get from their coaches.
Even if you take the plot as yet another revisitation of the Bad News Bears plot (triumph of the underdogs), the film can't think of an original way to show nerdiness, and so its fundamental signs are as stereotypical and tedious as the meanness displayed by the bullies: Nerds love Star Wars, eat peanut butter and jelly, spend all day at their computers, and, if male, can't talk to girls. "Underdog" sports movies usually make the protagonists endearing; this one makes you hope they lose their games.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the concept of revenge: Is it possible to feel better if you make other people feel badly?
How do the Benchwarmers speak for all self-claimed nerds who feel bullied?
How does apologizing make Gus feel better than beating all the kids' teams?