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From the director of Airplane!, David Zucker, and the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes a sports comedy like no other. Interestingly director David Zucker apparently invented the game of BASEketball some time ago, and it became the sort of driveway hit described in this film. Read on to find out more.

BASEketball
Feature
The story is fairly simple; two high school losers, Joe ‘Coop’ Cooper and Doug Reemer (played by Parker and Stone), invent a new game that they play in their driveway. The game, which combines the rules of basketball and baseball and allows you to psyche out your opponent in any way you want, is a big hit and attracts the interest of billionaire Ted Denslow. Denslow wants to turn the game into a professional sport, and so the National BASEketball League is born. BASEketball grows in popularity until it is the number one sport in America, with Coop and Remer’s team, The Milwaukee Beers, at the fore. But when Ted Denslow chokes to death on a hotdog during and important championship match (?) ownership of the team is passed on to Coop, with one condition – win the next Denslow Cup, or control of the team goes to Denslow’s money grabbing widow, Yvette (Jenny McCarthy).

Meanwhile, Coop meets and falls for Jenna Reed (Yasmeen Bleeth), head of the Dream Come True Foundation, an organisation that grants wishes to sick kids. Enter Baxter Cane (Robert Vaughn), owner of the rival Los Angeles Felons BASEketball team. Cane wants to take ownership of the Beers so he can introduce exploitative money making schemes into the league. He conspires with Yvette to ensure that the Beers lose as many matches as possible, so they can gain control of the team. To this end he opens an illegal sweatshop in Calcutta, where children are forced to make Beers merchandise. Cane sets up Coop and Reemer to take the fall for this dastardly scheme, and before long the two childhood friends are at each other’s throats. Will Cane get his way, or will Coop and Reemer manage to put aside their differences and win the league? I think we can all guess the answer to that one.

The film has the feel of a live action South Park episode, even if the characters and situations are vastly different. If you’re a fan of Parker and Stone’s animated series then you will almost certainly find this film hysterical. The guy’s don’t really to try to act; their on screen personas are pretty much the same as their off screen ones, which is good news as the pair are very natural. The odd impression of Cartman or Mr. Garrison does slip by from time to time however. It also seems pretty obvious that the duo had a hand in rewriting the script (even if no credit is given for such rewrites), or at the very least adlibbed a hell of a lot of their dialogue. As usual the guys don’t pull any punches, with plenty of sexual innuendo and politically incorrect jokes. No topic is beyond ridicule, be it homosexuals or the handicapped, so viewers of a sensitive nature be warned. One of the running jokes in the film is the way they constantly rip on Squeak Scolari (played by Dian Bachar, who has featured in two of Parker’s movies, as well as guest staring on South Park), dubbing him ‘Little Bitch’ among other things. So be warned, if you’re not a big fan of South Park then a lot of this film’s humour will be lost on you, in fact you may well be extremely offended.

BASEketball
Video
Video is presented in 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. Quality is reasonable throughout; better than I expected for this fairly low-key release. There is some noticeable grain and the image is a little soft, but it’s nothing that would ruin the viewing experience. The image did appear to be slightly dark on my set-up, but again this wasn’t terribly distracting.

Audio
Sound comes in the form of Dolby Digital 5.1 and is good throughout. Use of surrounds is prolific, with plenty of crowd cheers and the like. Dialogue is always clear, even above the raucous chanting at the BASEketball matches. Overall this is a good mix. Special mention must go to the soundtrack, or more specifically the rock parody track by D.V.D.A. (Parker and Stone’s band). D.V.D.A. provide music for the majority of the pair’s endeavours, most notably the music accompanying Kenny’s decent into Hell in the South Park movie. Oh, and if you want to know what D.V.D.A. stands for you’ll have to watch Orgazmo, as it’s much too vulgar to print here. The rest of the music is very good and in keeping with the light hearted nature of the film. I especially liked the cover of Ah-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’.

Extras
Extra features consist of a trailer, some cast and crew bios, production notes, a web link, a music video (for Take On Me) and a short featurette. The featurette has some good behind the scenes footage, especially of the guys clowning around on set. The extras aren’t going to set the world alight, but the film isn’t exactly high profile.

BASEketball
Overall
I found this film hilarious, it really appealed to my sense of humour (I love both South Park and the Airplane! movies). Some of the psyche outs for example, well they’re nothing short of brilliant. It’s not for the easily offended, but everyone else should check this little gem out. Oh, and if you’re looking for a good idea for a BASEketball drinking game, just take a swig every time someone uses the words ‘sweet’ or ‘dude’, you'll be wasted in no time!


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