Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange opens his Beer League by mumbling nonsense through a cigarette while nailing some softballs through a makeshift batting cage -- and I think he's shooting for something like Bill Murray's "It's in the hole!" speech from Caddyshack. Needless to say, he fails.
It's not that the jokes in Beer League are old, obvious and clumsily delivered. And it's not that the mostly no-name cast does nothing to distract the viewer from the paltry vulgarities that represent the whole of Beer League's screenplay; the main problem is that the movie looks like it was shot over the course of three sweaty afternoons -- and the subject of "a second take" was never even discussed. It's the kind of movie in which the paper-thin plot is often tossed aside so the actors can spit out some vaudeville-era raunch, with a distressing emphasis on the phrase "fuckin' jerkoff," as if it's the funniest word combination ever devised.
Speaking of "plot," this one's got maybe 1/3rd. There's this slobby team of allegedly lovable losers (one of whom is engaged!) who butt heads with the bully-type team -- and the loser has to quit the league! Guess what'll happen. It's even more boring onscreen.
Lange, most definitely an amusing comedian in certain cases, wanders through the proceedings hoping desperately to be seen as a next-generation Bluto Blutarsky -- but the guy's doling out such lame and hoary old punchlines... Frankly the guy comes off like Kevin Pollak's younger, raunchier brother, and he doesn't make for that sympathetic a lead character. Basically, he's an ass in this movie.
So combine the point & shoot direction with the production design of a small barbecue, mix it with a few familiar faces (hey, Ralph Macchio!) and a bunch you'll never see again, and don't forget the truckload of dick, tit and fart jokes... Ugh. Hell, when a small delivery of casual swearing from Seymour Cassell earns your movie's biggest laugh, there's definitely a problem.
Video: A fairly solid non-ananmorphic widescreen transfer.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 with optional Spanish subtitles.
On disc 1 we get an audio commentary with Artie Lange and director Frank Sebastiano, which is pretty much what you'd expect from a movie like this: Loud, raucous and raunchy. Fans might have a ball with it, so at least it's a cool inclusion for those folks.
Moving over to Disc 2 we have, well, probably more supplemental material than a movie like this really needs. But here's what we got:
A one-minute Beer Goggles short, an unrated trailer, a 19-minute behind-the-scenes featurettes with interviews and film clips, etc. Live from CineVegas! (4:10) is some footage from the flick's world premiere. Artie Behind the Scenes at Jimmy Kimmel Live! (3:32) is precisely what it sounds like. Artie Behind the Scenes of The Best Damn Sports Show (2:50) is more of the same.
You'll also find a very large collection of raw interviews with about a dozen of the cast & crew members, a collection of in-studio jokes and in-studio ringtones (?), and a Beer League photo gallery.
Production flaws and lame filmmaking aside, I simply didn't find any of the jokes funny. Most of the flick sounded like me and my filth-mouthed friends while we play poker. And I wouldn't want to subject anyone to that conversation for 90 straight minutes.
If, on the other hand, you dig Lange's schtick (or you simply have to see every sports comedy ever made), feel free to give it a rental.