"The Benchwarmers" is exactly what a viewer would expect. The movie is a nonstop barrage of the three P's of toilet humor: poop, pee and puke jokes. Not only are these bodily emissions referred to, but also the audience literally gets the pleasure of seeing them several times.
For example, there are three instances in which someone pukes, two of which shown onscreen. That is two too many. First of all because it is disgusting but mostly because it is usually funnier when something gross happens off screen. Some subtlety could have made this movie funnier.
Rob Schneider ("Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo") plays Gus, a man who decides to show two of his pals the joys of playing baseball. Gus invites Clark (Jon Heder, "Napoleon Dynamite") and Richie (David Spade, "The Showbiz Show") to a baseball field, where they clumsily begin to play. Soon after, a baseball team, completely consisting of bullies, arrives and demands the men leave the field.
Gus refuses and challenges them to a game. The boys accept, and it turns out that Gus is actually good at baseball. However, Richie and Clark could not be worse. The three men, entirely thanks to Gus, beat the team of mean guys so they go to Pizza Hut to celebrate. The movie does not appear to be at all ashamed of this blatant product placement, but it should be.
While eating, Gus is ditching his wife, Liz (Molly Sims, "Las Vegas"), who desperately wants to start a family. She reminded him before he left that she would be ovulating at precisely 6 p.m. What sane man would rather eat pizza than have sex with Molly Sims? On top of that, how is Rob Schneider married to Molly Sims?
Outside of the restaurant, the men are confronted by a local billionaire, Mel (Jon Lovitz, "The Producers") who wants to use them in a tournament against various little league teams in order to give some inspiration to anyone that never got a chance to play. The three men accept and are soon playing games against children a third of their age and of similar cognitive levels.
The movie is overwhelmingly predictable, aside from one twist that somehow, though unforeseen, is still not at all surprising. The jokes are just as predictable as the plot. Everything seems targeted at the lowest common denominator.
The actors are all gifted individuals. However, what they have put together here shows a huge lack of effort. The movie feels as though it was thrown together on a Sunday afternoon. Spade and Lovitz have a few witty one-liners. Still, they could do better. Even Schneider could do better.
The only person in the movie that cannot really be faulted is Heder. Whether he is playing a comic sidekick in the latest Hollywood comedy, acting in a Shakespearian play or merely ordering food at a drive thru, Heder will forever be labeled as Napoleon Dynamite. The character made such a cultural impact that no one, no matter how hard they try, could possibly forget that he was in that movie.
Thus far, Heder has been doing exactly what he should, and really only can, do: embracing this persona. Truth be told, he is not a great actor. However, he is a relatively funny individual. Whether or not he wants to, he will not be cast in a Shakespearian play and probably will end up working at a drive thru if he does not continue to welcome the inevitable Napoleon comparison.
Sure, Clark is no major departure from Napoleon, but the viewer should not be going into this movie expecting anything of the sort. Clark talks slowly, slouches, seems detached from reality and is a complete moron. It is the type of role Heder was born to play.
With that said, this particular character is not very funny. It is hard to tell exactly what Heder is trying to do with him. He is always wearing a helmet as some type of mentally challenged stereotype and is called a "retard" on more than one occasion. Is he supposed to be mentally challenged? He sure acts like it.
This would continue the trend of making fun of people with disorders. As in "Deuce Bigalow" and countless other recent comedies, there always seems to be a character, or several characters, with some sort of mental or physical disorder that is exploited for cheap laughs.
"The Benchwarmers" has, among others, Richie's brother, Howie (Nick Swardson, also the co-writer). Howie is said to have agoraphobia, a fear of public places or leaving the house. In the movie, the character is most terrified of sunlight, which would be closer to heliophobia than agoraphobia.
Anyway, there is no real reason for his character to even be in the movie aside from supplying a few unfunny moments that misrepresent a serious problem. This is not to say that disorders cannot be made light of, but here, the disorder exists as a one-note joke instead of a character that just so happens to have the condition.
"The Benchwarmers" is an uninspired movie and an incredible waste of talent. If you want to save your money and still get the same type of entertainment, go to a house party and watch for the partygoers that begin to poop, pee and puke whenever and wherever is most convenient. That, too, is disgusting, but at least it would get more laughs.
Rating: 2 out of 5