Rating - 4 / 5
Fans of the original Bad News Bears movie from 1976 can relax. Nearly 30 years later, the Bears are still Bad News, and thatís good news for anyone going to watch the remake of the classic baseball comedy. Itís as funny, and as completely politically incorrect as the original.
The story is simple and straightforward. An ex-ballplayer named Buttermaker (Billy Bob Thornton) is paid by a desperate mom (Marcia Gay Harden) to coach a baseball team made up of the rejects unable to get on other youth baseball teams.
(c) 2005, Paramount Pictures
As bad as the team may be on the field, itís no match for Buttermaker. Added to the drinking and smoking that Walter Matthauís Buttermaker was known for, Thorntonís version of the character actually dives deeper into inappropriate behavior. While the original team was sponsored by Chicoís Bail Bonds, this version is sponsored by a local gentlemanís club called ďBo-PeepísĒ that Buttermaker frequents. After a win, Buttermaker takes the team for a celebration at Hooters.
Still, with the updates to both his character, and the members of the team, the story remains very faithful to the original. Greg Kinnear shines as the rival coach of the hated Yankees, Roy Turner. Despite the ďAll-American DadĒ exterior, Turnerís Vince Lombardi-esque attitude in an argument with his son, the pitcher for the Yankees, is actually one of the most shocking scenes in the movie.
The original "Bad News Bears" obviously spawned an entire film genre filled with sports teams made up of misfit kids and the coaches who find their real swell selves thanks to coaching said kids. Just this summer we've had "Rebound" with Martin Lawrence, and Will Farrellís "Kicking and Screaming," both chips off the old "Bears" block.
But all those retreads miss the essential point. The difference is the original "Bears" and this remake find a kind of purity in their bold impurity. Buttermaker is not transformed into a saint and the kids don't become heroes. The team is still a bunch of losers and Buttermaker wants another beer.
Despite its un-PC nature, itís actually refreshing to see for a change.