Artie (Artie Lange) has no job and no girlfriend, and still lives with his mother. But he does have two things to look forward to in life: beer and softball. With best buddy Maz (Ralph Macchio), Artie plays on a team for Eds Bar and Swill until their brawling behavior threatens to get them kicked out of the league. In order to maintain their place, theyll have to defeat the champions at Manganelli Fitness no easy task when their blood-alcohol levels exceed their batting averages.
Artie Langes Beer League is a 2006 film written, produced, and starring Artie Lange. It was released in select theaters on September 15, 2006 in the New Jersey, New York, Cleveland, and Philadelphia areas. The DVD was released on January 2, 2007.
An unemployed slacker (Lange) inspires his softball teammates to improve their game so they won't get kicked out of the local league.
Beer League is a comedy about Artie DeVanzo (Artie Lange), an unemployed town drunk who plays softball with his buddies Maz (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (Jimmy Palumbo) for Eds Bar and Swill. Their arch-rival is Manganelli Fitness, led by Dennis Manganelli (Anthony DeSando). After the teams brawl during the first game of the year, the towns police chief decides whichever team finishes best in the league that season can still play in the league, and whichever team loses is out for good.
Artie lives at home with his mother (Laurie Metcalf) and can never hold a job or a girlfriend for very long. After a night out with his pals, he ends up at a diner for late night food, where he sees old flame Linda Salvo (Cara Buono) out with her friends. Artie abandons his friends and starts some small talk with Linda, which results in a one night stand. At first Linda is disgusted and annoyed that she let herself fall into another meaningless encounter, but Artie decides to actually try to attempt a more meaningful relationship with her.
The Eds team, traditionally a league doormat, decides to actually practice in an attempt to beat out Manganelli and stay in the league. The regular season is highlighted by Mazs bachelor party and wedding, and Johnnys attempt to bat .700 for the year.
The team charges up the standings to qualify for the championship game against the four-time defending champions from Manganelli Fitness. However, Dirt, Eds Bar and Swills team pitcher, collapses and dies from a heart attack at practice in the days leading up to the championship. After the funeral, the rest of the team drinks heavily in homage to Dirt before they play in the championship game scheduled for that afternoon.
Manganellis team quickly builds a 10-0 lead over their inebriated opponents, and that remains the score heading into the final inning of the game. After two outs, the season rests on Arties shoulders.
Artie proceeds to launch a Manganelli pitch over the fence in left field for a solo home run, an incredibly rare feat that nobody in the league has done "since 89". That shot only makes the score 10-1, but Eds Bar and Swill comes to life and bats around the lineup in the inning, bringing Artie back to the plate, now with the bases loaded and the score 10-6, though still with two outs.
Artie hits the ball to right field, where nobody is stationed because Manganelli has his fielders playing the "DeVanzo Shift"; completely dead-pull. All three baserunners come home, and as the ball is thrown away, Artie races home in an attempt to tie the score. He and Manganelli have a collision at the plate, but Manganelli hangs on to the ball for the final out and a 10-9 victory.
After the game ends, however, Artie keeps his vow of not letting Manganelli have the championship trophy, stealing it during the postgame awards ceremony and driving off down Route 3 past Giants Stadium, heading for the Jersey Shore with Linda, talking about other leagues in other towns and how he can still play in them.
The film was a box office failure. Figures from Box Office Mojo show the film was only released in 164 theaters for 14 days, with an opening weekend gross of $302,908, and a total domestic gross of $472,185.
The film received mostly negative reviews. It holds a 27% "Rotten" rating at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 15 reviews. Christopher Null of Filmcritic.com, called the film, "[A] whole lot of lewd potty humor that doesnt really add up to anything substantial, a guilty pleasure of sorts when taken in small bursts, but which grows somewhat tiresome in the long run". Critic Richard Roeper gave one of the four positive reviews, saying, "Beer League is raunchy and tacky, but its a hell of a lot funnier than something like Failure To Launch". Another positive review was from Brian Orndorf of eFilmCritic.com: "Beer League is not for tender ears, but more for the beer-bellied, rascally rule breaker in all of us, and most importantly, theres a great chance something in here will make you laugh".