Gus Matthews, Richie Goodman, and Clark Reedy are three adult "nerds"; Clark and Richie were the unpopular children who were constantly bullied and were always left on the bench at their baseball games, because of their lack of athletic ability in baseball. When a nerdy boy named Nelson and his friends are kicked off a nearby baseball diamond by a team of bullies, Gus and Clark chase the bullies away. When Gus and Clark return with Richie to play again and get back their feel for the game, the bullies return and demand that they leave. Gus challenges the bullies to play them for the field, and the three friends, despite Clark and Richie's poor abilities, win the game. Days later, one of Clark and Richie's bullies, Brad, challenges them to another baseball game with his team, but the three friends win again.
Later, Nelson's billionaire father, Mel, tells the trio that he is impressed with their wins, and explains his plan to hold a round-robin with all the mean spirited little league teams in the state, plus their team. The winners will be given access to a new multimillion-dollar baseball park that he is building. Wanting to capture the spirit and fun they never had when they were kids, the three decide to form the Benchwarmers and join the tournament. They prepare to compete with all the other teams, despite the fact that they are three adults squaring off against nine kids per team. The Benchwarmers begin winning every single game, with Clark and Richie's abilities gradually improving, and the team becomes popular among many nerds and the general public, but much to the frustration of the losing mean-spirited teams, who form a group together.
At the semi-final game, the competing team's coach Wayne bribes the umpire by entering a 50-year-old Dominican man Carlos into the league claiming him to be 12 years old (despite the fake birth certificate being written in green crayon). Carlos proves to be a professional, purposely stepping on Gus' hand at one point to injure it too much for him to pitch. But the Benchwarmers eventually manage to defeat Carlos by making him too drunk to actually pitch properly and they manage to win when Richie's agoraphobic and heliophoic brother Howie is hit by the pitch but forces the winning run.
However, the group of bullies find evidence that Gus was a bully himself as a child; known for using name calling over physical force and had bullied one child so intensely that the boy, named Marcus, had to be sent to a mental institution. Taking advantage, the bullies expose Gus' secret to the public, resulting in Gus getting kicked out of the team. However, on his wife Liz's advice, Gus sincerely apologizes to Marcus, who before the final game, makes an incredible speech that he forgave him. Gus re-joins the team, announcing that Marcus is the Benchwarmers' new third-base coach.
In the final game, Gus, Clark and Richie do not play; rather, they let a team of Nelson and other children play, to give them a chance to compete. The final is played against a team with a heartless coach, Jerry, who practically torments his players, is the leader of the group of bullies, and was Richie and Clark's main bully when they were children. In the final inning, the Benchwarmers are losing, but Jerry's team sees that the Benchwarmers are having fun playing the game anyway despite losing. Seeing how heartless and uncaring Jerry is and realizing the true spirit of the game, they decide to let Nelson hit the ball, and let him score a run, saying that Jerry is "the loser". The Benchwarmers storm the field, celebrating the fact that they were not shut out, and they give an enraged Jerry a taste of his own medicine, giving him a wedgie. Later, the Benchwarmers celebrate at Pizza Hut where Richie and Clark manage to get girlfriends, and Gus celebrates as he will become a father.Rob Schneider as Gus Matthews
David Spade as Richie Goodman
Jon Heder as Clark Reedy
Jon Lovitz as Mel Carmichael
Nick Swardson as Howie Goodman
Craig Kilborn as Jerry McDowell
Molly Sims as Liz Matthews
Tim Meadows as Wayne
Doug Jones as Number 7, Mel's robot.
Amaury Nolasco as Carlos
Bill Romanowski as Karl
Ellie Schneider as Carol
Reggie Jackson as himself
Danny McCarthy as Troy
Sean Salisbury as Brad
Matt Weinberg as Kyle
John P. Farley as Swimmer Boy
Terry Crews as Steven (Poker Guy #1)
Dennis Dugan as Coach Bellows
William Daniels as the voice of K.I.T.T.
Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Ellwood
The Benchwarmers was shot in various locations in California, mostly in Agoura Hills in the following addresses: Chumash Park – 5550 Medea Valley Drive and Pizza Hut – 5146 Kanan Road, while the rest of the locations were in Chino Hills; Chino; Culver City; Glendale; Watson Drug Store – 116 E. Chapman Avenue, Orange; Simi Valley; Westwood, Los Angeles and 33583 Mulholland Hwy, Malibu (Mel's house)
The film received negative reviews. It received an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. For his performance in the film, Rob Schneider was nominated for Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor at the 27th Golden Raspberry Awards, where he lost to both Marlon Wayans and Shawn Wayans for Little Man. Over the years however, the film has managed to grow a cult following.
Despite negative reviews, the film was a box office success. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $19.6 million, ranking second at the North American box office. The film grossed $59,843,754 domestically and $5,113,537 in foreign markets, totaling $64,957,291 worldwide.