Stretch a wad of Big Chew bubble gum and eventually it’s going to break. The crass gimmick of smoking and swearing kids of The Bad News Bears stretched itself precariously thin by the end of the original movie and totally split two minutes after the opening credits of the film’s first sequel The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. So how much more can they get out of cussing kiddies playing baseball? Apparently an additional 91 minutes – 91 painful, horrendous, baseball-bat-to-the-crotch-three-times minutes. Consider yourself warned.
Following the sequel, the Bears find themselves headed for a friendly match over in Japan. It’s arranged by swindler (Tony Curtis) who looks at recreating WWII on the ball field with hopes of big television ratings. As anyone who’s watched any of the Bad News Bears films know, the kids are always quick to rebel against any adults in a much more hedonistic Little Rascals fashion so they don’t make his job easy, especially since they’ve got more street smarts than he does.
Featuring a dozen characters who have lived largely sheltered lives, The Bad News Bears Go to Japan has the added “bonus” of adding the standard fish-out-of-water subplot to the already established and redundant kids acting like the adults you don’t want your kids to see as role models. Stereotypes and borderline racism are disguised as culture shock. Perhaps if a little more happened in the film, the lines would have been fully crossed.
Not only is The Bad News Bears Go to Japan not funny, it’s boring. Tony Curtis takes “calling it in” to levels I rarely see (thankfully). Modern sequels often get a bad rap for being cash grabs. At least many of the bigger ones try to outdo the originals in some fashion so even when the results are disastrous you can point to some cool new special effect or argue why having an additional bad guy killed it. Here, the lack of effort on all fronts screams of cashing in quick and worrying about the franchise legacy later.
Not only is The Bad News Bears Go to Japan easily the worst of a mediocre series and the worst baseball movie I’ve seen, it’s one of the worst movies I’ve seen – period. It might not be better than three bat swings to the crotch, but I’d be almost tempted to say I’d take two instead of having to sit through this again.
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan Gallery