Bad News Bears (directed by Richard Linklater, 111 min)
The remake of The Longest Yard fumbled with critics, so it'll be interesting to see how this retooling of the 1976 baseball comedy performs at the plate.
Billy Bob Thornton plays the Walter Matthau role of Morris Buttermaker, the beer-guzzling coach of a diverse gang of underachieving little league players, including a Mark McGwire-obsessed African-American kid and a boy in a wheelchair. There doesn't appear to be a Tatum O'Neal-calibre star in the cast, but look for Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden as an attorney (and possible love interest) and Greg Kinnear as Buttermaker's rival coach, Bullock.
The reliable Richard Linklater - who showed he can handle working with kids in School Of Rock - is at the helm. More importantly, the original film's screenwriter, Bill Lancaster , teams up with Bad Santa scribes Glenn Ficarra and John Requa . So get set for some raunchy talk in the dugout.
Opens Friday (July 22). For venues and times, see Movies, page 80. Screened after press time - see review July 21 at www.nowtoronto.com/film.