Division III: Football's Finest Moment
Perhaps it’s because our nation was born in an unprecedented fight against an overwhelmingly powerful adversary but we as a people seem to enjoy cheering on the underdog. We gather together in stadiums to root for the team least likely to win and relish that moment when they pull through to come out on top. This predilection for wanting the perennial loser to win has broken out of the sporting world infiltrating the movie industry. It should come as no surprise that the type of film that best exemplifies this trend is the sports flick. In many cases a movie depicting this theme can be poignant and inspirational. Then there is ‘Division III: Football's Finest’. I’m usually fairly lenient when it comes to movies that were specifically intended to be silly but this one does take a bit extra to get into. I’m not suggesting that psychotropic mood alteration substances would help but I strongly suspect such pharmaceutical enhancements had a regular place in the production process. Baring a replication of this neuro-chemical environment this flick could possibly be enjoyable on the right, very specific circumstances. I envision a scenario where you are having some buddies over to watch the big game, nice spread of beer and wings laid out and there is a rain delay. Pulling out a foolish sports comedy like this just might fit the bill. The key points being you are already in a group of rowdy, slightly inebriated friends gathered together for sports.
When these factors are taken into account as valid case can be made that ‘Division III: Football's Finest’ has a niche as a beer and pizza flick. One caveat that must be made is this is not intended for family viewing. It is puerile readily passing the boundary to disgusting. This is a variation of what has come to be regarded as the traditional ‘R’ rated comedy. In this type of flick the filmmaker purposely devises ways to gross out the audience. Scatological sexual and homophobic humor is the standard tools in their playbook. Needless to say any film of this kind is not intended for everyone. The usual demographic overlaps nicely with the sports motif; high school and college age guys. One additional restriction is applicable here; the flick features the comic styling of Andy Dick. To say his brand of humor is an acquired taste is an understatement. His over the top persona has been known to infiltrate his personal life making Dick constant fodder for the tabloid media. It must be noted that there have been moments in his career that even mainstream audiences have found his antics funny. As case in point would be his work in the classic TV sit com, ‘News Radio’. This also set the parameters of Dick’s future career choices. He tends to best, a relative term in this context, when he is part of an ensemble cast. This is the case here. The case here is contrived to appeal to the aforementioned demographic. Each cast member was selected for a connection with some TV show or other venue popular with guys of the target age.
In this flick Andy Dick portrays Couch Rick Vice. He is the epitome of the hyper aggressive, win at all course football Coach that is typically a peripheral character or mean spirited antagonist in the usual high school or college oriented movie. In this case the aptly named Coach Vice is an exaggeration of the archetype taken beyond and reasonable boundary. The techniques employed by Vice are immoral, illegal and would not be used by any real football couch. His methodology includes belittling, berating and brow beating his player in the misguided belief that his actions would inspire his players to win. Well, at least that is what Vice repeats to distance himself from any responsibility for his brutal actions. One factor that makes his methods especially reprehensible is Coach Vice lost his reputation for plotting to murder an entire Pee-Wee football team. Now the only job he can muster is bring the football team of a tiny liberal arts college to a winning season. It is up to Couch Vice to bring the ‘Blue Cocks’ to victory. He faces more than bad technique, inept players and general lack of talent. The sport is hated by the flighty president of the college Georgia Anne (Mo Collins) and is adamantly opposed to the existence of the team. She does hire a backup coach, Roy Goodwyn (Michael Jace) to supply some degree of expertise to the staff. It also serves to proved a more immediate comic foil for Vice. His methods as depicted in the obligatory training montage include breaking clipboards and chairs over recalcitrant players.
Many of the cast members here were recruited from the cult classic sketch comedy show, ‘MADtv’. Besides Mo Collins there is Debra Wilson as the oversexed head cheerleader, Mandy and Will Sasso Terry Lockwood a sports commentator. In each case the parts the play here are exaggerations of recurring character types they played numerous times on the TV show. One funny bit involves the banter between Sasso’s character and the requisite other commentator play by Adam Carolla formerly of such juvenile cable fair as ‘The Man Show’. Even the requirement of the sexy blonde is cast to reflect someone the audience is familiar with. The team’s comely medic Jennifer is played by Alison Haislip, best known for video game and high tech reviews on G4’s ‘Attack of the Show’. This gives her points for both beauty and nerd recognition.
The flick has a few moments but is quick to go over the edge. It will appeal most to the subset of cinephiles that declare themselves to being Andy Dick fans. The film does achieve what it sets out to do, present a rowdy, non apologetic comedy that goes up to the line of good taste and gleefully leaps over it. if this is what you are looking for then I guess this will be suitable.