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|
|Box office||$65 million|
The Benchwarmers is a 2006 American sports-comedy film directed by Dennis Dugan and starring Rob Schneider, David Spade, and Jon Heder. It is produced by Revolution Studios and Happy Madison Productions and is distributed by Columbia Pictures.
In July 2018, Revolution Studios and Universal 1440 announced a direct to DVD sequel, titled Benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls, which will be released on January 25, 2019. Jon Lovitz will reprise his role as Mel Carmichael.
Gus Matthews, Richie Goodman, and Clark Reedy are three adult "nerds" who spent much of their childhoods longing to play sports, especially baseball, but never got the chance. Clark and Richie were unpopular children who were constantly bullied by the jocks and were never able to play baseball or other sports because of their lack of athletic ability. Gus Matthews, who does not talk much about his past, is surprisingly good at baseball even though he also lacks an athletic record. When a nerdy, unathletic boy named Nelson and his friends are ruthlessly bullied and kicked off a nearby baseball diamond by a team of bullies who belong to a local little league team, Gus and Clark chase the bullies away. When Gus and Clark come with Richie to the field to play 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 due to Gus's superior skill. Days later, a man named Brad, who was one of Clark and Richie's bullies, 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 multimillion-dollar baseball park that he is building. Wanting to capture the spirit and fun in baseball which they never had when they were kids, as well as seeing this as an opportunity to teach children everywhere that bullying is wrong and that all children, regardless of ability, should be given equal opportunities in sports, the three name themselves the Benchwarmers and join the tournament. They play against every little league team in the tournament, despite the fact that they are three adults squaring off against nine kids per team. The Benchwarmers win every single game, with Clark and Richie's abilities gradually improving, and the team becomes popular among many nerds, children with poor athletic abilities, and the general public. Their success causes increasing frustration and bitterness amongst the mean-spirited teams of jocks, who start meeting to think of plans to defeat the Benchwarmers.
At the semi-final game, the competing team's coach Wayne bribes the umpire by entering a 30-year-old Dominican man named Carlos into the league claiming him to be 12 years old (despite the fake birth certificate being written in green crayon). Carlos proves to be a professional, purposely stepping on Gus' hand at one point to injure it too much for him to pitch. But the Benchwarmers eventually manage to defeat Carlos by making him too drunk to actually pitch properly and they manage to win when Richie's agoraphobic and heliophobic brother Howie is hit by the pitch but forces the winning run.
After multiple unsuccessful attempts to derail the trio and halt their winning streak, the Benchwarmers' adversaries finally find a weakness that they can exploit. They find evidence that Gus was a bully himself as a child, known for using name calling over physical force and had bullied one boy named Marcus so intensely that he had to be sent to a mental institution. Seizing this opportunity, the bully teams expose Gus' secret to the public, shaming Gus into resigning from the team. However, on his wife Liz's advice, Gus sincerely apologizes to Marcus just before the final game. In return, Marcus forgives Gus in an incredibly moving speech in front of everyone right on the field at the beginning of the final game. 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 consisting of Nelson and other non-athletic children play, to give them a chance to compete. The final is played against a team with their heartless coach, Jerry, who is the leader of all the mean bully jocks on the local little league teams, and was Richie and Clark's main bully when they were children. In the final inning, the Benchwarmers are losing, but Jerry's team sees that the Benchwarmers are having fun playing the game anyway despite losing. Seeing how heartless and uncaring Jerry is and realizing the true spirit of the game, they decide to let Nelson hit the ball, and let 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 entire Benchwarmers team celebrates at Pizza Hut where Richie and Clark manage to get girlfriends, and Gus ecstatically announces that he is going to become a father. Everyone rejoices at the trio's happiness.
- Rob Schneider as Gus Matthews
- David Spade as Richie Goodman
- Jon Heder as Clark Reedy
- Jon Lovitz as Mel Carmichael
- Nick Swardson as Howie Goodman
- Max Prado as Nelson Carmichael
- Craig Kilborn as Jerry McDowell
- Molly Sims as Liz Matthews
- Erinn Bartlett as Sarah the Pizza/Salad Girl
- Tim Meadows as Wayne
- Doug Jones as #7, Mel's robot.
- Amaury Nolasco as Carlos
- Bill Romanowski as Karl
- Ellie Schneider as Carol
- Reggie Jackson as himself
- 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)
- Blake Clark as Umpire
- Dennis Dugan as Coach Bellows
- Joe Gnoffo as Marcus Ellwood
- William Daniels as the voice of K.I.T.T.
- Jon Moscot
- Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Ellwood
- Patrick Schwarzenegger as Jock Kid Game #3
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 negative reviews. It received an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. For his performance in the film, Rob Schneider was nominated for Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor at the 27th Golden Raspberry Awards, where he lost to both Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans 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 (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Jon Moscot Bio". Pepperdine University Official Athletic Site.
- Cindy Adams, Patrick Schwarzenegger: Acting is how I bonded with Arnold, Pagesix.com, 26 March 2018
- "The Benchwarmers Review". Retrieved 31 August 2015.