Story

Clarke (Jon Heder) and Richie (David Spade) are adults who never got to play sport as kids. They were considered ‘losers’ or ‘nerds’. Both were bullied and left out of the local team games. Gus (Rob Schneider) is the local landscaper who used to play baseball as a kid. After Gus and Clarke rescue three kids who are being bullied by the local elementary league team, Gus is surprised to find that Clarke has never hit a baseball.

Gus takes Clarke and Richie to a pitch for a hit. When the same local team tries to get the three of them off the pitch, Gus challenges them to a game. Whoever wins gets to stay. The three men win the game and set off the idea for a round robin challenge – three men against the various elementary league teams. Along the way, they become an inspiration for children who are excluded from local teams for the same reasons that Clark and Richie were in their own school days.

Themes

Bullying

Violence

There is some violence in this movie, mostly intended for comic effect. For example:

  • Some boys hold another boy down while one of them ‘farts’ in his face. The boy who is being picked on ends up crying.
  • A baseball bat flies through the air hitting and killing some squirrels.
  • The benchwarmers use their baseball bats to bash letter boxes while driving down the street (supposedly in the name of learning to hit the ball).
  • A player stamps really hard on Gus’s hand, causing him pain.
  • During play, some of the players ram into each other. A couple of times the player who is down does not get up.

Parents should note that preschoolers will not understand the intent of comic violence and could be confused by it. Although comic violence might appear harmless for older children, and children often enjoy it, over-exposure to comic violence can lead children to believe that violence doesn’t really hurt.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

  • Richie’s brother is scared of the sun and hides in a cupboard. His behaviour when he comes out and sees the sun might worry some small children.
  • Squirrels fall down dead out of the trees after being hit by a baseball bat.

From 8-13

In addition to the violent scenes described above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children in this age group. These include scenes where children are bullied, and players are hit and do not get up.

Over 13

Children in this age group would not be scared or disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

  • Gus’s wife wants to start a family, and is constantly talking about when she is ovulating.
  • Gus ends the movie by saying that his wife is pregnant because he ‘went all the way’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

In one scene, an adult poses as a young player in one of the games and becomes completely drunk (on beer and tequila). He throws the ball wildly then throws up in the coach’s face.

Nudity and sexual activity

The movie includes some kissing.

Product placement

The benchwarmers eat at Pizza Hut several times.

Coarse language 

There is some coarse language in this movie.

Ideas to discuss with your children

This movie presents issues of fairness and humility. It highlights the importance of:

  • allowing all kids to play sport
  • saying you are sorry if you have been nasty to someone
  • adults being good role models for children who learn from their behaviour.

You might like to discuss the values of empathy, loyalty and teamwork. You could also talk about the issue of bullying.