The Bad News Bears (2005)

From Wikipedia: The 2005 remake of the 1976 comedy film The Bad News Bears, produced by Paramount Pictures. It is directed by Richard Linklater and stars Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden, Sammi Kane Kraft, and Jeffrey Tedmori.

Seventies movies were just edgier. Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Dog Day Afternoon, The Bad News Bears.  Wait.  What?  The Bad News Bears? Yes, The Bad News Bears.  Or at least it seems that way when compared to the anemic 2005 remake. Why? Primarily because Billy Bob Thornton’s performance as Buttermaker simply isn’t as effective or believable as Walter Matthau’s. Apparently, they thought Matthau’s understated performance could be topped simply by adding in layers of sex and vulgarity. Thornton’s loveable loser who hasn’t had to pay for sex in years, is easily able to make the opposing coach say uncle, and who has the entire wait staff from Hooters in his cheering section loses poignancy during the tense moments of the film that reveal the Buttermaker character warts and all. And their are warts. Matthau’s Buttermaker is a deeply flawed character who unexpectedly gets a shot at redemption. Thornton’s, on the other hand, is simply a garden variety cad who happens to know something about baseball. The rest of the film isn’t so much bad as simply unnecessary. Aside from Greg Kinnear’s performance as Roy Bullock, nothing else in this remake stands out, and at the end of the film one can’t help wonder what the point is, as the Tanner character does when given a non-alcoholic beer (itself mildly interesting as a PC modification to the original). Like that non-alcoholic beer, this movie pales in comparison to the original.

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