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Beer League (2006)

DVD Cover (Echo Bridge Entertainment Reissue)
Genres:
Baseball, Comedy, Sports Comedy
Director:
Frank Sebastiano Frank Sebastiano
Starring:
Artie Lange Artie Lange
Ralph Macchio Ralph Macchio
Anthony DeSando Anthony DeSando
Cara Buono Cara Buono
Jimmy Palumbo Jimmy Palumbo

6.0 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: September 14, 2007
Ahh, the good ol' sports comedy. There's a lot of these movies floating around out there: some are classics and some are horrible, but they almost all follow the same formula. You take an underdog team and put them in the starring roles, whip up a team of assholes who just so happen to be the champions, and you simply follow the heroes as they set out to pull off the upset of their careers in the final scenes. Throw in a love angle, a grumpy old man who helps the team along, and a woman who can shoot ping-pong balls out of her vagina, and you've got just one more entry in the long line of sports comedies. Alright, so maybe most of these films skimp out on the "pitching machines", but what do you expect from a film that stars Artie Lange, better known as one of Howard Stern's sidekicks?

No matter how clichéd it may be, that's basically the storyline for Beer League. Artie Lange leads a group of drunken losers in the local softball tournament against the stereotypical asshole Dennis Mangenelli (Anthony DeSando) with the stipulation being that the losing team must leave the league permanently. Linda Salvo (Cara Buono), the town whore, fills the part of Artie's love interest and does an acceptable job with it, Maz (Ralph Macchio) and Dirt (Seymour Cassel) do a great job rounding out Artie's team, and the storyline progresses just as you'd expect from a sports comedy.

Sure, the content is a little raunchier and the jokes are a little more dirty, but again, what else would you expect from a film that is loosely connected to Howard Stern? The big surprise here is Artie Lange as the star of the show: the man is genuinely funny and did an excellent job in the leading role. While I do enjoy Howard Stern, I'm far from being a huge fan and I certainly wouldn't have a problem calling him or his cronies out if their work wasn't up to snuff, so keep in mind that I'm being purely objective when I heap the praise on Artie. The supporting cast is acceptable enough in their roles: they may not exactly steal any scenes, but they're nothing to complain about either. You've seen the same characters in countless other movies and the actors found here were no better or no worse than the ones in every other movie, so you should know going in whether or not you'll like them.

The real shocker of the film was the fact that it was actually pretty damned funny, even for yours truly - a guy who normally hates films that have anything to do with sports. Granted, some of the material fell flat on me as - again - I'm not a huge fan of the material, but I laughed a lot more than I expected to and there were actually a few scenes that damned near pulled a tear out of my eye from laughing so much. Those of you who actually enjoy America's pastime will probably laugh even more than I did at the numerous references and nods found throughout the running time.

Overall, I'd probably label this as a good rental if not for the fact that it's currently sitting in the bargain bin at Wal*Mart for the measly price of five bucks. For that price, it's definitely worth a purchase, especially if you're actually a fan of baseball or sports comedies in general. 6/10.
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