'BASEketball' skewers pro sports, but its point, and humor, are dull Movie review

July 31, 1998|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

BASEketball, a new comedy starring Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the hilariously subversive TV series "South Park," has its moments -- particularly when it skewers the buffoonish world of professional sports -- but spends too much time trying to be outrageous, not enough trying to be funny.

Stone and Parker (who are better on-screen than anyone had a right to expect) play Doug Remer and Joe Cooper, boyhood friends who have dreamt of being sports icons since the day Cooper caught Reggie Jackson's third home run in the final game of the 1977 World Series. Unfortunately, professional sports have changed since then, leaving no room for heroes.

But Remer and Cooper change all that by inventing BASE-ketball, a game combining baseball and basketball, with rules that specifically prohibit such things as moving teams to other cities, player endorsements and huge salaries.

Can the boys keep their game pure, even against the entreaties of an evil team owner, played with unabashed gusto by Robert Vaughn? Can "Coop" win the heart of lovely social worker Yasmine Bleeth? Can director and co-screenwriter David Zucker one-third of the fabled team responsible for "Airplane!") keep plumbing lower and lower depths in search of guffaws?

It won't give up much to say the answer to the third question is sure. The film's opening, lampooning the big-money, big-ego world of pro sports, is a riot, as are guest spots from such sports announcers as Bob Costas and Al Michaels. Some other bits, including references to "South Park," are also worth the laughs they generate. But dumb humor is as dumb humor does, and it does get tiring after a while.

Plus, any film that skewers the me-first attitude of modern pro sports, yet includes a cast credit for product placement consultant, ought to be careful where it casts its stones.


Directed by David Zucker

Starring Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Released by Universal

Rated R (strong language and crude sex-related humor)

Running time: 100 minutes

Sun score: **

Pub Date: 7/31/98

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