Beer League (2006) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

There's been a trend in the past few years among lowbrow films. The brow keeps getting lower and lower. Think of it as a limbo contest where guys can participate even if they can't bend over to tie their shoes. This flick has its brow down there about as low as a brow can go, down there in the Moose Skowron brow range.

It's also pretty damned funny.

But I gotta warn ya, it's only funny if you appreciate a certain type of humor. Up in the Northeast there's a kind of no-holds-barred, crude, obscene, obnoxious, raunchy, politically incorrect, insulting kind of banter that goes on between jocks, tough guys, and would-be tough guys. And that's when they really like each other. We used to call it ball-busting. Maybe they still do. I don't know, because I left the Northeast in 1972, but it seems to me from watching this film that the guys still bust balls just as crudely as we did 35 years ago. Maybe even a little more so. And that's what the film is really about. If you cut away all the stuff that doesn't matter in this flick, it's all about ball-busting. If Andre had dinner with these guys, they would bust his balls ... er ... assuming they liked him.

The disposable plot of the film is a New Jersey twist on the traditional "root for the underdog" sports comedy. It's Caddyshack reworked for slow-pitch softball. Most of the time this tried-and-true formula pits "slobs versus snobs," but the whole "snobs" concept doesn't really fit into the North Jersey blue collar softball scene, so the formula had to be tweaked a little bit for this movie. Now it's "slobs versus jerks." Even then it's hard to tell the difference. The only real distinction between them is that the jerks comb their hair, and maybe the slobs have a little better sense of humor. The "hero" of the film is an obese, unemployed slob who lives with his mother and only stops drinking long enough to play slow-pitch softball. When planting his girth in the batters box, he makes Babe Ruth look like Nicole Richie.

Looks like Artie Lange lost about fifty pounds to play the part.

John Goodman once pointed out that he knew he was too fat when they told him he had to lose weight to play Babe Ruth. Artie would have to lose weight to play John Goodman! In fact, Artie would have to lose weight to play pretty much any movie role. One exception would be Godzilla. He could play Godzilla at his existing weight, but he'd have to wear 2000-inch heels. On the other hand, he's a funny guy. I sat and watched this alone and there was more than one time when I was surprised to hear myself laughing out loud spontaneously. That alone is worth the time I invested to watch it. Oh, sure the film also strikes out a lot, but so did Babe Ruth. Taking a good cut is part of hitting homers, and it's part of writing jokes. When you nail one, as this film does occasionally, people forget about the K's.

Artie also knows this character and this material. Hell, he played ball in a New Jersey public school, worked for years on the Newark docks as a longshoreman, then later got a gig with Howard Stern. This particular background is the ultimate training for ball-busters. It's what West Point is for generals.

Is Beer League an unforgettable cinema experience? Hell no. I have to write the review right this minute, immediately after the film ended, because I won't remember it tomorrow. But even so, I enjoyed it. It brought back a lot of memories of old friends and rowdy times from my years in the Bronx. Come to think of it, I never remembered those times the next day either.

If Howard Stern and his gang crack you up, you should get more than a few laughs here. Your mileage may vary, of course. If your favorite author is Jane Austen, this might not be for you. And you might want to take a pass on this film if your favorite radio memories have all occurred on NPR. In that case make sure to have your regular Dinner with Andre ...

... but don't bust his balls.



  • Unrated commentary by Artie Lange and director/co-writer Frank Sebastiano
  • Beer Goggles Short
  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Artie behind the scenes from Best Damn Sports Show
  • Artie behind the scenes at The Jimmie Kimmel Show
  • Live from Cine Vegas!
  • In the Studio with Artie: Jokes and Ringtones
  • Raw interviews
  • Photo Gallery
  • Unrated Trailer


All of the nudity occurs at a bachelor party. Porn star Keisha and several anonymous strippers appear topless.

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.1/10. That's higher than I expected. I don't disagree, but I still didn't expect it.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a C. It's a lowbrow comedy about softball, and it takes a lot of swings, occasionally delivering solid base hits.

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