DVD Review: Bad News Bears (2005) (Widescreen Edition)
Country: United States
Release Date: December 13, 2005
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
· Richard Linklater
· Billy Bob Thornton as Morris Buttermaker
· Greg Kinnear as Ray Bullock
· Marcia Gay Harden as Liz Whitewood
· Cinema Spider: The Bad News Bears
by Scott Wyatt
Published: December 15, 2005
There are some films that just donít need to be remade. The original Bad News Bears is one of the all-time best baseball movies to watch and root for the underdog but this remake is simply a hollow attempt at capturing that magic again.
Morris Buttermaker (Thornton) is a former professional ballplayer that hopes to make some easy money by coaching a struggling Little League team. Unfortunately, he inherits a team that couldnít beat their own shadows. Add in the fact that Buttermaker is lewd, womanizing drunk and the uphill battle is complete. After being taunted by a win-at-all-costs rival coach and challenged by his own players, he must find a way to unite them into a team.
Unlike the original, this is not one for the little kids. Itís ironic that the film is about a team of 12 year-olds but the rating is PG-13 meaning the target audience is too young for the film. The language is too heavy for this kind of family fare and some of the scenes appear to be too much for pre-adolescent children.
Billy Bob Thornton steps into the role of Buttermaker and does an admirable job of filling Walter Matthauís shoes. He successfully portrays a man who would rather drink beer and sit in strip clubs rather than hit grounders at practice. If you saw Thornton in Bad Santa then you have a pretty good idea of the type of character he gets to play here. If this had not been a remake, the role would have been brilliant but given that heís merely imitating the old role, it comes across as a tribute to the late Matthau.
The rest of the cast is merely fluff material. Greg Kinnear is the rival coach, Roy Bullock, who taunts Buttermaker at every opportunity. Marcia Gay Harden portrays Liz Whitewood, a mother who sues the Little League, but the performance falls flat. The team is a little more ethnic-balanced this time around and the performances of the kids are good but no one will ever duplicate the gold of the original team especially with some of the raunchy situations the new team finds itself in this time out.
Director, Richard Linklater, does a decent job at trying to milk the comedy with this remake. Although it doesnít hold a candle to talented spin on School of Rock, it does deliver thanks to the creative freedom he allows Thornton to have with the role of Buttermaker.
The bonus features of the DVD are your typical fare with nothing really standing out as stellar. The Video Baseball Cards are a nice touch though for the players.
While the film falls far short of being a home run, Thorntonís portrayal of Buttermaker is enough to make this a stand up double and worthy of a look.
Commentary by Director and Co-Screenplay Writers
Video Baseball Cards