Actually, "TheBenchwarmers" is the latest lowbrow romp from Adam Sandler's Happy Madison production company, the wildly inconsistent mirth factory apparently dedicated to keeping Sandler's "Saturday Night Live" buddy Rob Schneider gainfully employed.
In every one of these movies, Schneider plays the same guy -- a sweet-natured doofus who wanders into some larger storyline, wins everyone over with his inclusiveness and nonjudgmental affability, and wanders off happily ever after into the credits, usually accompanied by a hot blond. Except in "The Hot Chick," where he himself was the hot blonde, but that's not important right now.
"The Benchwarmers" casts Schneider as a California gardener who drags his loser buddies David Spade and Jon Heder into the world of little league, the better to teach those smug, well-financed hotshots -- and their jock parents -- some valuable life lessons by trouncing them on the field. It seems Schneider's been sitting on some awesome baseball skills, and he's good enough to single-handedly carry their little trio to victory.
After a while, Jon Lovitz turns up as a billionaire nerd who offers to bankroll a tournament so Schneider and his buddies can trounce a whole bunch of pre-teens. But "The Benchwarmers" really exists as a staging area for a series of odd, silly and mostly engaging jokes at the expense of Spade and Heder, and a propping-up of geeks in general.
It's not particularly accomplished, and it doesn't really offer anything new -- those who've been waiting to see Heder do something other than his gawky "Napoleon Dynamite" schtick are going to have to keep on waiting -- but it's pleasant enough to watch, if you're partial to Schneider. And fans of "Prison Break" will be flat-out amazed by a certain final-act cameo, so there's that, too.
Sony's enhanced-widescreen DVD has a decent enough amount of extras, assuming you want to further wallow in the movie's world.
Co-stars Spade and Heder contribute an appropriately lazy audio commentary, while director Dugan offers his more considered observations on a second track; curiously, ostensible star Schneider is nowhere to be found.
Other extras include a quartet of production featurettes, only three of which offer any real making-of material; the fourth, "Who's On Deck?", just slaps together three minutes of Nick Swardson's creepy-funny turn as Spade's reclusive brother Howie. The actual featurettes include a peek at the production, a celebration of Reggie Jackson, and a collection of cast and crew anecdotes about their love of baseball.
The disc also includes four deleted scenes; a hidden fifth clip of Jon Lovitz singing the national anthem at a Benchwarmers game isn't hard to find. STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: July 25th
TIME: 85 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: French, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai audio dubs; English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai subtitles; audio commentaries; deleted scenes; production featurettes.
INTERNET SITE: www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/thebenchwarmers/index.html