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Bad News Bears Review


Terrible
When a movie this awful tosses the adjective "bad" into its title, we call it truth in advertising. Look beyond the easy-target moniker and you'll find even more bad news: Richard Linklater's remake of Michael Ritchie's misfits-on-the-mound classic is a major league disappointment, a mean-spirited, insensitive, and racist misfire that should have Walter Matthau and original Bad News Bears screenwriter Bill Lancaster spinning in their graves.

Linklater scored critical praise for his similarly paced School of Rock, and makes only slight alterations to the slacker-mentors-kids formula in hopes of duplicating his success. His cringeworthy Bears places former major league pitcher Morris Buttermaker (Billy Bob Thornton) in charge of a scornful army of selfish brats, then marches them through conventional hurdles on the way to a preposterous championship game.

Continue reading: Bad News Bears Review

Bad News Bears Review


Grim
When the executives at Paramount Pictures saw Billy BobThornton play a bitter, abusive, drunkard shopping-mall Kris Kringle in2003's raunchy, bitingly funny "BadSanta," they must have said to themselves,"If we water this down to a PG-13, we'll make a mint!"

Thus was born the lackluster remake of 1976's "TheBad News Bears."

Once an edgy but family-friendly Little League comedy fullof cursing pre-pubescent underdogs and starring Walter Matthau as theirbooze-hound coach, this 2005 version -- starring Thornton, co-written by"Bad Santa" screenwriters, and lazily directed by the usuallycreative Richard Linklater -- has lost both its bite and its heart.

Thornton's uncharacteristically flat take on the characterof coach Walter Buttermaker -- a trailer-park bum and exterminator by tradewho once played half an inning in the pros -- has little of Matthau's cantankeroushound-dog congeniality. His "who cares" attitude toward his baseballteam of delinquents, nerds, over-eaters, immigrants and paraplegics soonbecomes humorously motivational abuse, then "win at all costs"obsessiveness, then "just have fun out there" altruism withoutmuch rationale beyond the screenplay's say-so.

Continue reading: Bad News Bears Review

Kicking & Screaming Review


Zero
Here's the recipe for making a movie as badas "Kicking and Screaming":

First, take every underdog-sports-movie cliche you canthink of and liberally apply them to a little league soccer team. Next,virtually ignore the team members as characters, except to sprinkle thesoundtrack with ethnic music every time an Asian or Italian kid is on thescreen.

Then focus all your energy on their whiney, klutzy, insecure,dumb-as-a-post sitcom-dad coach, and be sure to cast a shameless ham toplay him -- like, say, WillFerrell. And just for good measure, hire a famoustough-guy coach from an entirely different sport in a major supportingrole, but first make sure he's an embarrassingly bad actor -- former ChicagoBears honcho Mike Ditka will do nicely.

Fold these ingredients into a script driven by gimmicks(when Wimpy Dad drinks too much coffee, he turns into a raging jerk --ahh, ha, ha, ha, ha!) and bake for 87 minutes which feel more like two-and-a-halfhours. Serve with stale popcorn.

Continue reading: Kicking & Screaming Review

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