Schneider continues his one man crusade to destroy the credibility of Western cinema (remember “Deuce Bigalow 2” or “The Hot Chick” anyone?) with this abysmal Adam Sandler-produced baseball comedy.

The ridiculous plot sees “a retarded paper boy, a gay video clerk, and a smelly midget” (Heder, Spade and Schneider respectively) making up for missed opportunities in their childhood by forming a three-player baseball team to compete against standard little league squads. Throw in some slapstick gags, Heder picking his nose repeatedly, and an unhealthy helping of mawkish sentimentality, and “The Benchwarmers” hits all of the other contenders for worst film of 2006 out of the park.

Childish (bogeys, wedgies and farts account for most of the script’s “humour”), crude (one character lives in “Shmegma Lane”) and mind-numbingly repetitive (seeing people getting hit in the head with baseballs gets fairly dull after a while – especially as it’s never Schneider), the only decent thing about “The Benchwarmers” is it’s pleasantly short 80 minute running time.

Even the anti-bullying message falls flat as most of the second half of the film involves fully grown men beating up young boys.

Any idea who Reggie Jackson is? Us neither, which makes Schneider’s 8-minute eulogy to the baseball star in the “Mr October” featurette fairly tedious viewing.

"Play Ball" isn’t much better, as the lads discuss baseball’s part in America’s cultural history, and "Who's on Deck" is an utterly pointless collection of clips featuring the agoraphobic Howie, played by co-writer Swardson, from the film.

The six-minute “Nerds vs. Bullies” featurette sees the cast explaining their place on the social hierarchy during their school days, and it is satisfying to hear Spade revealing that he often had his lunch money stolen by older boys – something he is effectively doing now to kids who have to part with their cash to watch this dross.

Amazingly, there are also five deleted scenes included which weren’t deemed good enough to make the final cut – and why anyone would even consider watching these is a mystery to us.

Verdict

At the end of this latest effort from Dennis “Happy Gilmore” Dugan one bemused character enquires: “This is idiotic! Are these guys serious about this Benchwarmers crap?” and, sadly, the answer is yes.

At one point Schneider asks: “This was a complete waste of time wasn’t it?”. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Rating: 12A
Staring: Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Molly Sims
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Extras: Audio commentary from director Dennis Dugan, Audio commentary from David Spade & Jon Heder, Deleted scenes, Blooper reel, Nerds vs Bullies' featurette, 'Play Ball' featurette, 'Mr. October' featurette

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