BASEKETBALL: Geek Classic?

by Shawn Lampron

As a movie-loving geek, things get dicey and argumentative when you venture into the comedy genre.  When it comes to typical geek fare, there are relatively few arguments amongst the hardcore.  While a Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate may become heated, there are no true winners.  In the end, a geek is a geek, and nobody will emerge much cooler than anybody else.  Grab an average citizen to mediate and start blabbing about Ferengi or Ithlorians, and they’ll declare you both geeks.  However, to repeat myself, comedy is the gray area amongst geeks.  Thus, I present a puzzle: Baseketball.  Is this a geek comedy classic or flotsam?

For the uninitiated, the fact that the cover art proudly proclaims that it shares the same director as The Naked Gun should give an idea of the type of humor contained within the DVD case. Baseketball is a crude comedy with many instances of physical and slapstick humor.  Also, it was created and stars the two men responsible for South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  The plot is easily disseminated: Two boyhood pals, who are on the cusp of loserdom, create a game that is a combination of baseball and basketball, and with the help of a rich millionaire portrayed by Ernest Borgnine, market this new sport to the masses.  In the process they become stars and must learn to deal with the fame.  While sports aren’t necessarily typical geek territory, the approach is amusing.  When showcasing how other sports have sold out, the ridiculous voiceovers and stadia names are particularly amusing.  Somehow, they even managed to get Bob Costas and Al Michaels to appear and deliver some creepy, sexual humor that verges on making the viewer uncomfortable.

This isn’t to say that the movie doesn’t have its down notes.  The female love interest is Yasmine Bleeth, best known for being beautiful in Baywatch and for her voracious cocaine habit.  Unfortunately, her performance in this movie is more reminiscent of the latter.  Except for a few funny lines, she looks confused for most of the movie, unable to figure out how to deliver comedic lines.  Also, some of the jokes are hideously dated.  Shots at Christian Slater and Robert Downey, Jr. might be puzzling to younger viewers, particularly since both men have experienced a degree of comeback in the last few years.  Furthermore, a Bill Clinton joke was dated when the movie first came over a decade ago.

In the end, though, this movie just might be a geek comedy classic on the principle of its one-liners alone and some of the more ridiculous situations it presents.  Seeing Borgnine sing “I’m Too Sexy” is amusing whether you’re old enough to remember him on Airwolf, Escape From New York, or not at all.  I’d encourage a rental.  However, if you’re a truly randy soul, you might wish to look further back to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Orgazmo, an NC-17 comedy that lampoons the pornography industry.