Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Dennis Dugan|
|Produced by||Adam Sandler
|Written by||Allen Covert
|Music by||Waddy Wachtel|
|Edited by||Peck Prior
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||85 minutes|
|Box office||$64.9 million|
The Benchwarmers is a 2006 American sports-comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan. It stars Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder. It is produced by Revolution Studios and Happy Madison Productions and is distributed by Columbia Pictures.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (December 2011)|
Gus Matthews, Richie Goodman, and Clark Reedy are three adult "nerds"; Clark and Richie were the unpopular children who were constantly bullied and were always left on the bench at their baseball games, because of their athletic abilities. When a nerdy boy named Nelson and his friends are kicked off a nearby baseball diamond by a team of bullies, Gus and Clark chase the bullies away. When Gus and Clark return with Richie to play again and get back their feel for the game, the bullies return and demand that they leave. Gus challenges the bullies to play them for the field, and the three friends, despite Clark and Richie's poor abilities, win the game. Days later, one of Clark and Richie's bullies, Brad, challenges them to another baseball game with his team, but the three friends win again.
Later, Nelson's billionaire father, Mel, tells the trio that he is impressed with their wins, and explains his plan to hold a round-robin with all the mean spirited little league teams in the state, plus their team. The winners will be given access to a new multi-million dollar baseball park that he is building. Wanting to capture the spirit and fun they never had when they were kids, the three decide to form the Benchwarmers and join the tournament. They prepare to compete with all the other teams, despite the fact that they are three adults squaring off against nine kids per team.
After winning the first game, Mel's friend, the former New York Yankees superstar Reggie Jackson, helps the Benchwarmers (mainly Clark and Richie) to train using unorthodox methods (childhood pranks and games such as ding-dong ditching, hot potato, and mailbox baseball). In the second game, just as the Benchwarmers are about to lose, Richie uses one of Reggie's unorthodox methods to hit a home run, winning the game.
The Benchwarmers then go from county to county (including Gus' hometown, Brookdale), winning the next two games to reach to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the rival team hires a drunken 50-year-old Dominican man named Carlos as the team's new pitcher by bribing the umpire. Carlos is more than a match for the Benchwarmers, but they manage to come back by making Carlos too drunk to play well. In the last inning, the umpire has Richie's agoraphobic younger brother, Howie, be on deck. Howie ends up being hit in the arm by Carlos, but forces in the winning run for the Benchwarmers, sending them to the finals.
Just when it is looking like the stadium is all theirs, a bully named Steven reports to the public that Gus was a brutal bully himself as a child, not a victim of bullies like Clark and Richie. He was known for using name calling over physical force and had bullied one child so intensely that the boy, named Marcus, had to be sent to a mental institution. Gus is kicked off the team as a result, but at his wife, Liz's, suggestion, Gus apologizes to Marcus. Marcus arrives at the final game to reveal to the crowd that Gus had apologized and felt awful about what he did when he was kid, and Gus re-joins the team, announcing that Marcus is the Benchwarmers' new third-base coach.
In the final game, Gus, Clark and Richie do not play; rather, they let a team of Nelson and other children play, to give them a chance to compete. The final is played against a team with a heartless coach, Jerry (dubbed by Gus as "Fairy Jerry") (Craig Kilborn), who practically torments his players – and was Richie and Clark's main bully when they were children. In the bottom of the 6th inning, the Benchwarmers are losing, 42–0, when Jerry's team, after realizing that the true meaning of baseball is to have fun, throws Nelson a "meatball" pitch down the middle. Nelson hits the ball, and Jerry's team lets him score a run, saying that Jerry is "the loser". The Benchwarmers storm the field, celebrating the fact that they were not shut out, and they give an enraged Jerry a taste of his own medicine, giving him a wedgie. Later, The Benchwarmers celebrate at Pizza Hut where Richie and Clark manage to kiss girls, and Gus celebrates as he will become a father.
- Rob Schneider as Gus Matthews, one of the three main protagonists, bully as a child, "baseball star."
- David Spade as Richie Goodman, one of the three main protagonists, who was one of those (alongside Clark) bullied as a child.
- Jon Heder as Clark Reedy, one of the three main protagonists, who was one of those (alongside Richie) bullied as a child.
- Jon Lovitz as Mel Carmichael, a nerdy billionaire, who brings the Benchwarmers to the public eye.
- Nick Swardson as Howie Goodman, Richie's agoraphobic brother, who views the Sun as a hideous monster, stays at home and has a nasty habit of eating sunscreen.
- Craig Kilborn as Jerry, the main antagonist, who was Richie and Clark's main bully when they were children.
- Molly Sims as Liz Matthews, Gus's wife.
- Tim Meadows as Wayne
- Amaury Nolasco as Carlos
- Bill Romanowski as Karl
- Reggie Jackson as himself
- Max Prado as Nelson
- Danny McCarthy as Troy
- Sean Salisbury as Brad
- Matt Weinberg as Kyle
- John P. Farley as Swimmer Boy
- Terry Crews as Steven (Poker Guy #1)
- Dennis Dugan as Coach Bellows
- William Daniels as the voice of K.I.T.T.
- Joey Gnoffo as Marcus Elwood, a dwarf who Gus bullied as a child.
The Benchwarmers was shot in various locations in California, mostly in Agoura Hills in the following addresses: Chumash Park – 5550 Medea Valley Drive and Pizza Hut – 5146 Kanan Road, while the rest of the locations were in Chino Hills; Chino; Culver City; Glendale; Watson Drug Store – 116 E. Chapman Avenue, Orange; Simi Valley; Westwood, Los Angeles and 33583 Mulholland Hwy, Malibu (Mel's house)
The film received generally negative reviews from critics with a 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 66 reviews and 25 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 17 reviews. However, it also currently holds a much higher 65% audience approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 420,608 user ratings. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes was "a gross-out comedy that is more sophomoric than funny, The Benchwarmers goes down swinging". Rob Schneider earned a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actor for the movie, alongside Little Man, but lost to both Shawn and Marlon Wayans, also for Little Man.
Despite negative reviews, the film was a box office success. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $19.6 million, ranking second at the North American box office. The film grossed $59,843,754 domestically and $5,113,537 in foreign markets, totaling $64,957,291 worldwide.
- The Benchwarmers at the Internet Movie Database
- The Benchwarmers at Box Office Mojo
- The Benchwarmers at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Benchwarmers at Metacritic
- David Spade interview for The Benchwarmers