Release Date: July 22nd, 2005 by Paramount Pictures.
The Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden
Directed by Richard Linklater.
BASIC PREMISE: An alcoholic coach (Thornton) tries to bring a little league baseball team to victory.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Billy Bob Thornton is the real highlight of this remake. He has very little resemblance to Walter Matthau of the original film but he has plenty of energy, charisma, and a dry, cynical sense of humor. Much of the humor is inappropriate for young children because of how offensive it is. For example, after the coach meets all of the little league players, he calls them the League of Nations. There are plenty of jokes against one obese player who is in a wheelchair and one who just speaks Spanish. Thornton’s performance is very laid back and makes the film much funnier that it should be. There is a hilarious running joke about the opposing coach (Kinnear) and his tight pants. The kids are very lively and also quite funny in their own unique ways. The plot is predictable, but it has a few somewhat interesting subplots involving Thornton and a player’s mother (Harden). Then, there is his 12 year-old daughter who joins the team and helps to soften up the drunken coach into being a better dad. None of these subplots are developed, though. The real question, though, is if the final baseball game is suspenseful and exciting and the answer, unfortunately, “no” because it is hard to believe that such a verbally-abusive coach can inspire kids to be better baseball players. Nonetheless, the script is well written enough so that everything is always fun to watch.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: There are a few messages, such as that there is more to life than winning. The coach does not give his players any big lectures about life like in most movies about sports. A lot of the offensive jokes are bitter and even cruel. However, the ending is somewhat satisfying but it is certainly not moving in any way.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: There is plenty of cynical humor that is meant to offend, but those with an open mind will not mind it.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
THE BOTTOM LINE: A hilarious performance by Billy Bob Thornton and a funny script barely saves this movie from sinking with all of its undeveloped subplots and offensive, vulgar humor.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Fans of Billy Bob Thornton- Movie Theater (1st Run) Everyone else- Movie Theater (2nd Run)
The "B" Menu