Movie Review

Bad News Bears (2005)

MPAA Rating: PG-13
Jeffrey Davies, Billy Bob Thornton, ... | DAMNIT, KID. DON'T EVER BRING ME A LIGHT BEER Billy Bob and his Little Leaguers steal home. And our hearts
Image credit: Bad News Bears: Deana Newcomb
DAMNIT, KID. DON'T EVER BRING ME A LIGHT BEER Billy Bob and his Little Leaguers steal home. And our hearts

Okay for kids?

EW says…

Min. Age 10-12 Yrs Old

A.W.

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PG
13

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Recommend It?
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Jul 22, 2005; Rated: PG-13; Length: 111 Minutes; Genre: Comedy; With: Marcia Gay Harden, Greg Kinnear and Billy Bob Thornton; Distributor: Paramount Pictures

It's a Christmas miracle: The legend of Bad Santa has turned Billy Bob Thornton into the drunken, foulmouthed, lecherous lowlife most likely to have a salutary effect on young people who say ''enough already'' with the damn wizards and superheroes. In Bad News Bears, director Richard Linklater's swell, fair-ball remake of the well-loved, anti-PC 1976 sports comedy, Thornton picks up the Beer Can of Unwilling Leadership from Walter Matthau to play Morris Buttermaker, a seedy washout of a onetime ballplayer scrounged up to coach a gaggle of kid-size athletic misfits into becoming a youth baseball team.

Linklater and jovially dyspeptic screenwriters Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (they wrote Bad Santa — their crud cred is good) know enough to leave Bill Lancaster's original structure alone. (They also wisely retain the goofy grandeur of a soundtrack driven by Bizet's opera Carmen — olé.) Instead, the tweaks are subtle and unobtrusive, as Linklater — proven in School of Rock to be a natural leader of yoots — brings transgression up to code for the 21st century of PG-13. New-era losers (the cast is a cheery scrum of relaxed kids, led by genuine whiz pitcher Sammi Kane Kraft in the role created by Tatum O'Neal) now include a rotten kid in a wheelchair. And Greg Kinnear provides bonus smarm as Buttermaker's nemesis, a coach with a high regard for his own crotch.

Originally posted Jul 20, 2005 Published in issue #831 Jul 29, 2005 Order article reprints
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