BASEketball Review

Image for BASEketball

Two nerds invent a new sport that’s a cross between baseball and basketball which suddenly takes off in America in a big way.


Battered in the sick flick stakes by There’s Something About Mary during the 1998 US Summer season, BASEketball never obtained a cinema release in the UK. Which is a crying shame, as its high gag quotient would have thrived in a packed multiplex auditorium: mixing the velocity and lunacy of the Naked Gun series (step forward director Zucker) with the sickness and stupidity of South Park (step forward the stars Parker and Stone), and adding an element of satire that is absent from both BASEketball has more than enough laughs to make it top notch Friday night fodder.

      Perhaps one of the reasons the movie tanked so badly in the States – thus condemning it to the DVD shelves here – is that it takes the piss out of so much that America holds dear. As nerds “Coop” and Remer invent a hybrid of baseball and basketball that emerges out of the suburban driveways to sweep the nation, we are treated to a full-on lampooning of US sports culture encompassing team names (the New Jersey Informants, the LA riots), corporate sponsorship, the complex rules and statistics-obsessed commentary, with a pointed intelligence that belies the film’s dumbass appearance. The mickey taking reaches its zenith with the inspired notion of “psyche outs” in which players put off their opponents by any mean necessary – be it sleeping-with-your-dead-mother insults of Stone sipping the fat from Marlon Brando’s liposuction with a straw – an idea so perfect it is amazing it hasn’t found its way into real sport.

      Weaved around BASEketball set-pieces, there are subplots involving Stone and Parker trying to bed Yasmine Bleeth’s charity worker, and rival team owner Robert Vaughn’s plan to corrupt the homespun sport into something more lucrative. But these rarely provide a hiatus in the laughs, which practically cover every comedy base; gross out (Kremer licking an old biddy’s dildo), slapstick (a blind kid gets a ball straight in the mush), sight gags (an American football team celebrates a touchdown by breaking into Riverdance), and media skits (look out for the hilarious TV show Road Kill – Caught On Tape, in which cuddily animals are mowed down by an out of control car).

      Of course, some of it misses by a mile – Ernest Bourgnine singing I’m Too Sexy (don’t ask), anything featuring McCarthy as Borgnine’s money grabbing wife – but there’s always a gag that lands soon after. Out of the central twosome, Parker’s geniality is far more appealing than Stone’s dudedom, yet the movie is stolen by Dian Bachar as Squeak, the duo’s pint-sized punchbag. All in all, a slam dunk. Or is that a home dunk?

Sadly neglected, high-gag comedy from the South Park lads.