Helmed by Sean S. Cunningham, who later found a niche in teen-themed horror by directing Friday the 13th (1980), this low-budget family comedy is a shameless rip-off of The Bad News Bears (1976). Like The Bad News Bears, this movie depicts a ragtag Little League team getting whipped into shape by a reluctant coach. Among other elements brazenly stolen from The Bad News Bears, the picture features a juvenile delinquent who becomes a star player and a soundtrack peppered with classical music. Yet while Bill Lancaster’s ingenious script for The Bad News Bears completely avoided the usual cute-kid excesses of family films by featuring a cantankerous coach and foul-mouthed youngsters, Here Come the Tigers is nearly as sickly-sweet as a Disney movie. In the bizarre opening sequence, kindhearted policeman Eddie Burke (Richard Lincoln) talks an older colleague out of committing suicide by agreeing to become a Little League coach. Then Eddie’s bumbling partner makes a bet on Eddie’s baseball success. These contrived circumstances set the stage for Eddie’s first encounter with his team, which includes such misfits as Art “The Fart” Bullfinch (Sean P. Griffin), whose distinguishing characteristic is indeed flatulence. By 10 minutes into the movie, which is about when the first scatological joke happens, it’s clear that viewers have traveled a long distance from the sharp satire of The Bad News Bears. Leading man Lincoln delivers a truly bland performance, and none of the child actors pop as memorable personalities. Additionally, all of the baseball scenes feel like limp re-enactments of bits from The Bad News Bears, complete with montages of botched plays and running gags about imaginative training techniques. Cunningham’s direction runs the gamut from basically competent to numbingly generic. There’s nothing to genuinely hate in Here Come the Tigers, since it’s a feel-good story about an adult teaching children to respect themselves, but there’s also no reason to watch a carbon copy of an infinitely better movie.
Here Come the Tigers: LAME