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Comic Artie Lange revels in a `Beer League' of his own

September 18, 2006|Stephen Williams | Newsday

Perhaps the most provocative argument for seeing "Artie Lange's Beer League" is that it offers a glimpse into the fantasy world of adolescent boys. It's a world full of sex, whiskey, beer, cocaine, foul language, bachelor parties, hookers, illusions of grandeur, slow-pitch softball and the sweet satisfaction of hitting a home run against your nemesis.

Not necessarily in that order. Comic-writer-producer-star Lange, Howard Stern's Sirius radio sidekick, has successfully brought to life the locker room of the mind: It's a place in New Jersey where the lads are losers (at softball) and live at home with Mom. The bad guy is a star pitcher who resides with a babe (or babes) in a mansion and is running for mayor(!), and where drinking and dope make everything better.

Lange's wisecracks are delivered with a kind of easy arrogance reminiscent of John Belushi. Lange, in fact, seems to mimic Belushi's soft, puffy expressions. He offends everyone and everything, including the Catholic Church, gays and fatherhood, and no doubt imagines that people will perceive that he is, like Stern, offending no one.

Occasionally a non sequitur or a sight gag hits the mark. Most of the time -- to continue the Stern analogy -- the inanity is harmless, thoroughly predictable and ultimately disposable.


MPAA rating: R for nonstop language including strong sexual references, sexuality, nudity and drug use.

An Echo Bridge Entertainment release. Director Frank Sebastiano. Writers Artie Lange, Sebastiano. Director of photography David Phillips. Editor Peter Fandetti. Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes.

In selected theaters.

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