Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls Feb 5, 2019 15:35:10 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Feb 5, 2019 15:35:10 GMT -5
Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls (2019)
Directed by: Jon Rosenbaum
Directed by: Jon Rosenbaum
Chris Klein in Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls.
However awful you might assume a direct-to-video sequel to the Happy Madison cult-favorite Benchwarmers might be almost 13 years later, with only one original cast-member returning and a low-key release insinuating little besides utter embarrassment, you're underestimating its level of quality. Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls is a sickeningly loathsome, incompetent cash-grab, barely passable as a compilation of B-roll footage and deleted scenes as opposed to a feature-length film. It's not an overreaction to say everyone involved should be required to do some level of community service to make up for an unmitigated atrocity.
Why, you might ask, would one even bother to make a sequel to The Benchwarmers, let alone one where only Jon Lovitz reprises his role as Mel Carmichael (who is now apparently a lawyer)? I suspect the film was a petty spec-script that was slightly tailored to masquerade as a follow-up to the Rob Schneider/Jon Heder/David Spade comedy in order to be watched and purchased by people for the reluctant intrigue factor. Or, in fact, it could've been just another experiment from writer Stephen Mazur, who has been on a role writing tardy, largely unrelated sequels to second-tier comedies, such as Jingle All the Way 2 and Without a Paddle: Nature's Calling. These are films that you could assume were written with their subtitles acting as the primary title until it was decided for marketing's sake (and once rights were cleared up) to make the film a sequel to a film with a cult-following. It might sound shameful and slithery, but that's only because it absolutely is.
Not two minutes into Benchwarmers 2, we see a number one minor league baseball prospect named Ben McGrath (Chris Klein) approach his final-at-bat only to be struck in the crotch by a wild-pitch. The injury leaves his testicles shattered and his baseball career dead before he could ever reach the MLB. Ten years later, McGrath is divorced from his wife and alienated by his 10-year-old son. He works as a landscaper, but has recently completed law school online with intentions to become a lawyer. Initially hired by the Gordon Stenhouse, the number one firm in the city, he's subsequently fired when (get this) he curls up in the fetal position during the company's softball game because of PTSD.
While at the bar the same afternoon, McGrath meets billionaire Mel Carmichael (Lovitz), who convinces him to come aboard at his law firm, Schmood and Ass, as long as he also agrees to coach their softball team (which will become known as "The Benchwarmers). McGrath's team is comprised of a sorry team of schmucks that look as if they rose from the worst cliche book of stock, secondary characters. There's a combative man who tries to serve as the voice of reason (Lee Majdoub), a loudmouth on a motorized scooter (Chris Gauthier), a mysterious cad who thinks he's a secret agent of some kind (Garfield Wilson), the man who does Schmood's commercials (Peter Graham-Gaudreau), an intense young woman who thinks everything she hears is sexual harassment (Final Destination 3's Crystal Lowe, whose inclusion in the film at least made me smile), and several other misfits I'd rather not profile at this time.
No film would be complete without a half-assed love interest, which is where Chelsey Reist's Annie comes in. She's Schmood's newest clerk, who is trying to save her dirty, impoverished town from being demolished to make room for a new sewage plant. When not on the diamond, McGrath helps her piecemeal the details of the sketchy plan so as to make an impact on the company and with her, as well.
The simple-minded premise of Benchwarmers 2 could be somewhat forgiven if the film featured some comedy or decent asides, but everything tries too hard or not hard enough to earn a laugh. The journeymen cast of career-supporting actors can't hold their own, especially not with such sub-par writing, and Klein shows that he needs more than a concept to carry a film; he, too, needs someone resembling a likable character as opposed to a pathetic underdog.
That was my biggest gripe about The Benchwarmers, a film I despised and still label one of the worst Happy Madison films yet. The film is predicated on three hapless characters you couldn't entrust to go to the store to pick up simple groceries, and are so witless and uncoordinated you wonder how they could function on a day-to-day basis. Being expected to root for these kinds of stereotypical idiots as your protagonists, especially without any clever writing, is a lost-cause, and Benchwarmers 2 shockingly doubles-down on making everyone too dumb to function. It goes against the odds and makes a film even worse than its predecessor, which would've been near the top of my list of "worst films of 2006" had I made one.
There will undoubtedly be dozens of good films coming out in 2019. We've already established Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls is not one of them. Don't waste your free Redbox rental or your precious time on such an unfathomable disaster of a film.
Starring: Chris Klein, Jon Lovitz, Chelsey Reist, Lochlyn Munro, Crystal Lowe, Lee Majdoub, Garfield Wilson, Chris Gauthier, and Peter Graham-Gaudreau. Directed by: Jon Rosenbaum.