The Bad News Bears is an extremely funny adult-child comedy film. Walter Matthau stars to perfection as a bumbling baseball coach in the sharp production about the foibles and follies of little-league athletics. Tatum O’Neal also stars as Matthau’s ace pitcher.
Michael Ritchie’s film has the correct balance of warmth and empathy to make the gentle social commentary very effective.
Premise finds activist politico Ben Piazza having won a class action suit to admit some underprivileged kids to an otherwise upwardly-mobile WASP suburban little league schedule.
Piazza recruits Matthau, a one-time minor leaguer now cleaning swimming pools to coach the slapdash outfit. O’Neal and Jackie Earle Haley reluctantly join their juvenile peers to spark the team to a second place win.