9.04.2007

Balls of Fury Movie Review

If movies were people and humor (aka the “funny”) was money, then Balls of Fury would be a tightwad pizza delivery guy; he’s got a few hundred dollars carefully stashed in his hooker jar but gives exactly 11.5% tips at TGI Fridays. The fact that he’s a pizza delivery guy is completely irrelevant except for the fact that I like pizza. And hookers.

Speaking of hookers, a key ingredient to successful comedies such as Talladega Nights and Knocked Up -- other than the fact that they’ve got genuinely funny material – is that jokes get tossed around with a casual confidence that anticipates a continual flow of punch lines and sets a positive tone for the entire film.

Every movie could benefit from a half-naked Will Ferrell. Even The Godfather, you ask? Especially The Godfather.

Balls of Fury handles it’s jokes like a big wad of pizza dough (pizza!); pulling, squeezing and stretching each joke as far and wide as it possibly can before letting you eat it (figuratively speaking of course). Instead of projecting confidence, this method of joke inflation sends the audience a very different message: enjoy this battered testicle gag for the next couple of minutes because you don’t know how long it’ll be before the next battered testicle comes your way.

And the dearth of laughs is the real crux of the issue. Writing/acting/pretend gay/directing duo Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant have taken the ginger stepchild of ESPN sports -- ping pong -- and modeled it after similarly wacky sport comedies such as Talladega Nights, Dodgeball, and Blades of Glory, but rarely venture beyond the most obvious shticks. The handicapped coach, the hot chick girlfriend, and the creepy bad guy are new comedy staples and there’s very little to distinguish the versions found in Balls of Fury, with the exception of the blind coach’s (Jame's Hong's) consistently amusing performance.

Lennon and Garant also forgot to make it possible to relate to anyone in Balls of Fury, unless of course you’re an ex child ping pong prodigy whose father was killed by the Chinese Mafia for failing to pony up on a bet lost on your crushing Olympic defeat to a militant German champion. Actually, that would be pretty cool.

My Balls of Fury highlight was watching this man flex his nipples. That didn't sound as masculine as I thought it would.

I realize I’m criticizing a flick that flaunts male bosom jiggling for not having relatable characters, but I think it’s a legitimate complaint. Jokes fall flat if you don’t care about or understand the people involved, which is why Will Ferrell is so damn good in Talladega Nights and just about any other movie he’s in. The guy can play ten kinds of imbecile but you never doubt that his heart is in the right place and that makes us care when his wife leaves him or laugh when he tears his nut sack. Balls of Fury’s Dan Fogler seems likable enough and demonstrates a knack for physical slapstick, but there’s just not enough material for him to get beyond a fat, slobby caricature.

If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve already seen the best parts of Balls of Fire. My advice is to be a tightwad and save your money for pizza.

14 comments:

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Whenever I saw the previews for this little "gem", I'd ask myself what the hell they were thinking...

Sadie said...

I have to say that I had absolutely no desire to see this movie, even before I saw that Entertainment Weekly gave it an 'F.' Now, with YOUR review too, I can safely say that there is no way I will go see it.

april said...

Like sadie I didn't have much interest in seeing that movie, even before I heard all the bad reviews.

And "Jokes (just like movies) fall flat if you don’t care or understand the people involved..." is definitely true.

Matt said...

silver - I actually thought the previews were hilarious. I guess that shows how good editing can fool you, and how juvenile I am.

sadie - Yeah, BoF doesn't bring anything new.

april - Guys will like this movie more than girls, but that's because guys like ball jokes more.

Fletch said...

What?!? There's nipple flexing? That's it - I'm seeing this!


Or not.

andersoncm said...

Absolutely hilarious! great cast, funny characters, great lines, hot chick, witty and fun. Is it realistic and meaningful? Look at the poster for the movie and ask yourself what you were expecting...you douche bags who fancy yourselves witty movie critics. It's not meant to be realistic, it's meant to make us laugh and I can vouch that the whole theater was rolling, except maybe some dweeb in the corner who thought he was too intelligent to laugh.

Matt said...

andersoncm - I'm glad that you enjoyed Balls of Fury so much. In fact, I'm jealous that you got so much enjoyment out if it. I was pretty harsh on BoF partly because I wanted to like it so much. I mean, Christopher Walken is one of my favorite comedic actors of all time and a ping pong death tournament is a hilarious concept. But for all the reasons I said in my review (too few jokes, cliched setups, unlikable characters, etc) the movie just didn't work for me the same way it obviously worked for you.

I go into every movie hoping to see greatness and my reviews are my honest opinions. I may be critical of some movies (like BoF) but that doesn't mean I'm criticizing your or anyone else's taste in movies.

andersoncm said...

Matt-I thought your comment was the only semi-kind one on this website. Maybe I didn't understand it. The douche bags I was referring to were on another chat room and on most of the links you'll find if you google reviews for BoF. My anger wasn't at you. I think my supreme enjoyment of that movie is partly related to my level of 'intoxication'...went well with chicken tenders and a wheat beer. But I also feel a "juvenile" shame when I tell friends, especially smart ones, that I laughed myself silly at BoF. Not something I would tell a romantic interest either.

Matt said...

andersoncm - Did you ever see White Chicks? I laughed my ass off on that one too. Guys pretending to be chicks and biting off their toenails during a date gets me every time.

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