'108 Stitches': Film Review
A losing college baseball team struggles to survive in this raunchy comedy
One of the characters in 108 Stitches is a Vietnamese college baseball recruit whose only English language utterances are quotes from such baseball-themed movies as Major League, Field of Dreams and A League of Their Own, among others. It’s a painful reminder that renting any of those films — renting any other film, actually — would be far preferable than suffering through this painfully unfunny comedy.
Set at a fictional Utah university, the film concerns the efforts of its corrupt, self-aggrandizing president (Kate Vernon) to get rid of the school’s perennially losing baseball team and tear down its stadium. Opposing her efforts are the team’s unofficial leader, Frank (Ryan Carlberg, failing in his attempt to channel Ryan Reynolds in Van Wilder), and his motley group of players, including their cerebral palsy-afflicted pitcher (comedian Josh Blue, who has the condition in real life).
The egregiously stereotypical characters and situations are reminiscent of endless other films. Among the familiar tropes are the sarcastic play-by-play game announcers, the beleaguered coach (Bruce Davison, who surely deserves better than this), his beautiful daughter (Erin Cahill) with whom Frank has an edgy flirtation and the climactic fundraising baseball game that is surely the least exciting ever committed to celluloid.
Last Comic Standing winner Dat Phan plays the Vietnamese character, clearly inspired by Sixteen Candles’ Long Duk Dong, whose every entrance is accompanied by Asian-sounding music complete with gong. Also showing up briefly are Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi Larry Thomas — who, yes, gets to utter the line “No soup for you” — and pitcher Roger Clemens, clearly paying back a favor.
Although filled with enough profanity to justify its R rating, the film doesn’t even have the courage of its convictions. Despite its blatant sexualization of nearly every female character, it coyly refrains from delivering the nudity obligatory to these sorts of exercises.
Running an excruciating 118 minutes, the film does deliver at least one gag that lands. Vernon, whose venal university president character is named Jennine Wormer Platt, gives a shout-out to a photograph of her late father. He turns out to be none other than Dean Wormer from Animal House, played by her real-life father, John Vernon.
Production: Psycho Rock Productions
Cast: Bruce Davison, Erin Cahill, Kate Vernon, Ryan Carlberg, Larry Thomas, Allen Maldonado, Dat Phan, Josh Blue
Director: David Rountree
Screenwriters: David Rountree, Jake Katofsky
Producers: Jake Katofsky, David Rountree, J.P. Pierce
Executive producer: Jeff Katofsky
Editors: Jake Katofsky, David Rountree
Composer: Walter Afanasieff
Rated R, 118 min.