BASEketball

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BASEketball

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Arriving with a glut of over-the-top comedies, from the hilarious There's Something About Mary to the not-so-promising-looking Fugitive spoof Wrongfully Accused, BASEketball is relying on popular humor brand names to draw audiences. Its stars (South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and its director (The Naked Gun and Airplane!'s David Zucker) have generated interest; fortunately, its script is so densely packed with jokes that it can't help but live up to its pedigree some of the time. The high-concept plot—losers Parker and Stone invent a new game and see it take the sporting world by storm—paves the way for a populist message, a million non-sequitur psyche-out gags, numerous sports cameos, funny bits involving Robert Stack and dying kids, a few nods to South Park, and enough foul language and gross-out humor to earn an R rating. Zucker's genius lies in the painstaking process of layering multiple jokes in single scenes: He's never so lazy as to allow a moment of plot exposition to pass without a joke somewhere in the frame. That work-intensive approach makes Zucker's movies (this is the first he's directed since The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear) superior to the dozens of lesser imitators, from all those inexplicable Leslie Nielsen vehicles to 1996's Zucker-produced High School High. BASEketball isn't Zucker's best: Robert Vaughn's villain is perfunctory, the redundant cheerleader gags get old, and Jenny McCarthy isn't funny during the five or ten minutes she's on screen. But BASEketball's effort and energy pay off with surprisingly abundant laughs and a few admirable shocks.

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