“108 Stitches,” named for the number of red stitches on a regulation Major League baseball, is a fatally clueless, painfully overlong sports spoof. A kind of “Bad News Bozos,” it tells the sloppy, ham-fisted story of a barrel-bottom Utah college baseball team with a single afternoon to reverse its misfortunes or face extinction.
In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that set-up. But in the hands of director David Rountree, who co-wrote the flabby, puerile script with Jake Katofsky, the result is a mishmash of absurd plotting, paper-thin characters and an utter lack of filmmaking discipline.
This movie, which plays like 1970s drive-in fodder, is also almost wholly derivative, borrowing from any number of underdog sports pictures and campus raunchfests. Why so many overage actors were cast as college students is anyone’s guess.
Most egregious, though, is how the film gleefully traffics in retrograde stereotypes. Younger women, older women, African Americans, Latinos, Arabs, the disabled and others are all thrown under the narrative bus for the cheapest of laughs.
The movie’s dopey treatment of its sole Asian character earns “108" its final strike. Suffice to say, befuddled Vietnamese team recruit Phan Quan (Dat Phan) makes Long Duk Dong from “Sixteen Candles” look classy. Does a gong really need to sound most anytime Quan appears?
To be fair, some decent performances can be found amid the dross, including spirited turns from Ryan Carlberg as the team’s jaunty leader, Kate Vernon as the college’s scheming president and, somehow, the esteemed Bruce Davison as a veteran coach.
MPAA rating: R for language, sexual references.
Running time: 1 hour, 58 minutes.
Playing: At AMC Burbank Town Center 8; AMC Orange 30. Also on VOD.