Rated: PG-13 for adult language, sexual themes, and violence.
Genre: Sports Comedy
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Running Time: 1:51
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 4/18/07
Special Features:
Commentaries - Director and Co-Screenplay Writers
Deleted Scenes
Trailers - Theatrical Trailer
Video Baseball Cards

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As usual, Linklater doesn’t do what others do. In other words, he never makes a film as everyone assumes he is. Sure, this is a remake, but this is a kick in the balls remake, just like the original was a kick in the balls kid’s film. There’s profanity, crude humor, sexual innuendos, and Billy Bob Joe Bob Thorton channels “Bad Santa” for his variation of Buttermaker. And I was pleased. Thorton can play asshole well, and I laughed at his utterly sharp one-liners, period.

Well, I guess every director has to have one film that’s commercial to grant them enough dough to get them through the rough times. Even one of my favorite directors of all time, Richard Linklater. It’s not that Linklater can’t do a commercial film, because “School of Rock” was great, but this is a remake. And Linklater is better than this. He’s ten times better. And he can make all the excuses he wants, but I’m still shocked the same man who created “Waking Life” was behind the camera of this remake. The problem with this remake is that the original film was a zeitgeist for children sports films. It paved the way for hundreds of similar titles on the shelves, and now this remake just doesn’t seem like it’s ever treading new ground. It’s not innovative. And of course, there’s the fact that there’s no Tatum O’Neil or Walter Matthau to keep the chuckles coming. Shit, I had such a crush on Tatum O’Neil when I was a kid, and she’s still pretty damn hot.

I digress. Linklater’s directorial prowess can not be argued, but “Bad News Bears” just isn’t good enough to watch again, even when you compare it to the original. Even when you don’t compare it to the original, there’s just not enough material here to warrant a re-watch. Hell, coming from a hardcore Linklater fan, take that with a great weight. I know my opinions matter to you, don’t pretend. Worst of all, in spite of the profanity and crude humor, there’s no surefire instance in which this stands out from the original.  

Shit, there’s even a gag where Buttermaker tries to sneak a dwarf on the team as a kid, a joke that really failed to hit any definition of the word funny. For all intents and purposes, Sammi Kane Kraft pulls her part off well enough. You have to credit the production team for hiring an actual pitcher, but her performance is as stale as you can imagine. She’s simply not Tatum O’Neil. Tatum’s character was a wise allecky little snot, a chip off the old block from Matthau’s Buttermaker, where as Kraft has little to no charisma, and can never hold up her end with Thorton. She’s simply not a worthy foil to Thorton. Otherwise, “Bad News Bears” is just half cocked. It pussyfoots and grabs for edge, when it’s really nothing worth remembering.

Nowhere near as good as the original. It’s not as funny, not as energetic, and hardly as edgy, but Linklater does a competent job of creating an almost watchable remake, thanks to the solid performances and dialogue that may inspire a giggle or two. It’s a mediocre movie, and that’s sad, considering this is Richard Linklater.



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