Movie Review: Geeks score from ‘Bench’

As the second film to come out of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company this year, “The Benchwarmers” does a decent job of capturing Sandler’s comedic sensibilities.

Three grown men – Gus (Rob Schneider), Richie (David Spade) and Clark (Jon Heder) – challenge a team of mean-spirited little leaguers after witnessing them pick on a geeky child. Thanks to Gus’ un-geeky ability to pitch and hit, the trio play well enough to be noticed by Mel (Jon Lovitz), a one-time geek turned multibillionaire. Mel creates a tournament with little league teams competing against the three men in an attempt to show the nerds of the world, that there can be glory in geek-hood.

This breed of film is not known for its award winning storylines, but rather its slapstick and irreverent humor, which is where “The Benchwarmers” stands out.

The film is reminiscent of an early Adam Sandler flick with Napolean Dynamite as a main character.

Heder still plays a socially awkward momma’s boy better than anyone else. Few actors could pull off some of the gags that come so naturally to him.

Spade’s sarcastic humor is present, and is made even more comical by his nerdy smugness as he insults children, oftentimes with senseless name-calling.

“The Benchwarmers” feels a little awkward at times. Despite the film’s theme of acceptance, it took many opportunities to make fun of certain groups of people. This identity crisis hurts the film.

It was also awkward to see Rob “I always play a strange character” Schneider playing such a normal role. It is strange how, in a movie where everyone seemed to be typecast, Schneider failed to even utter “You can do it!”

The worst complaint that can be made is despite many comedic segments, there are many moments that attempt to be funny by being gross. It is hard to find the humor in booger-eating jokes.

Overall, the occasional failed joke does not hurt the movie enough to give it a bad review. “The Benchwarmers” does not quite hit any home runs, but it does score with multiple base hits.

Score: 8/10

Matthew Loriso can be reached at mloriso@ulv.edu.

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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