Artie Lange's Beer League

2006, Movie, R, 0 mins

Review

ARTIE LANGE'S BEER LEAGUE
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A cavalcade of colorful profanity, bachelor-party hooker gags (how do you think the busty gal they call "Pitching Machine" got her professional nickname?) and shopworn bodily function jokes, this vehicle for Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange is slob comedy at its slobbiest. As if it weren't bad enough that 35-year-old loser Artie DeVanzo (Lange) is a fat, chain-smoking, coke-snorting, unemployed borderline-alcoholic who lives with his mom (Laurie Metcalf), but his slow-pitch softball team, sponsored by local beer joint Ed's Bar & Swill, is regularly whipped by his longtime nemesis, Dennis Mangenelli's (Anthony DeSando) team. When Artie and Dennis were in high school together, Artie was always second best, and now the gap has widened into a yawning chasm. Dennis owns a successful local gym, lives in a McMansion, gets all the hot girls, is running for mayor and never misses an opportunity to rub Artie's face in it. Worse, Dennis' cousin Gina (Elizabeth Regen) is marrying Artie's best friend, Maz (Ralph Macchio), so there's no avoiding the guy. And worst of all, the local cops are so sick of breaking up pre-, post- and mid-game fights between Dennis and Artie that they lay down the law: At the end of the season, one of the teams is going to have to pack up and join another league. Since the better team gets to stay, it's pretty clear that Artie and company are going to be looking for a new home. The only bright spot in this generally dismal situation is that Artie has found a girlfriend. True, Linda (Cara Buono) has been around the block a few times, but she's sweet, pretty, stacked and has sufficiently low self-esteem that she doesn't think she can do better. The comedic hijinks are on par with Lange and director/cowriter Frank Sebastiano's first collaboration, DIRTY WORK (1998), which was similarly driven by the conviction that labeling people and things "gay" is the height of hilarity, particularly if a synonym for "penis" can be worked into the joke. Buono is truly charming, and the film delivers a handful of genuine laughs — low laughs, but laughs nonetheless; if only they weren't so few and far between. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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