Friday, August 31, 2007

Balls of Fury

For some reason spoofs always suck me in. Possibly this is because the first few I saw were all so good...Top Secret (1984), Rustler's Rhapsody (1985)...they had me in stitches. But in the last few years they have been getting progressively worse. Oh, not in previews...the Scary Movie franchise had some great moments in the previews, and the first movie actually had a few laughs...but it got progressively lamer and stupider as it went on. Epic Movie (2007) seemed, from the previews, to think that merely referencing a popular movie was a joke in and of itself. The previews were so unfunny that I could not be sucked into seeing it at all.

There have been a few parodies in the last few years that had good previews and sucked me into their bleak, humorless world of time wasting...sometimes they even had the odd laugh, but were never as good as the previews. More exactly, essentially every laugh in the movie was already seen a hundred times in previews before entering the theatre, thus rendering the watching pointless.

Still, somehow, Balls of Fury (2007) sucked me in. So with popcorn and cookie dough bites in hand, root beer by our side, the Goose and I settled into our seats. Sadly, the previews were all old, including the live action Bee Movie (2007) Seinfeld preview that is so bad I am having a hard time getting buzzed for the forthcoming animated picture. So I might not have been in the right frame of mind.

Regardless, the movie starts out strong. There are a few light laughs during the opening Olympic competition, largely revolving around A)caricaturing the fanatical behavior of some fans in regular sports...painting their bodies, making signs, swooning... and B) caricaturing the self-indulgent behavior of athletes. The posturing and trash-talking are at times hysterical, at others banal.

The movie progresses to a scene of Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler) working an off-strip show in Vegas. His routine is hilarious. Sadly, the overdone "lethargic crowd" bit never seems to end which stretches the scene out long past its shelf life. And that becomes a theme. Jokes are funny momentarily, but much like the way the shine comes off a magic trick as soon as you are shown the secret...the jokes that are left on the screen too long lose their punch and become retroactively less funny.

The film builds and builds towards a hug, hilarious finale...all the elements are in place with a strong cast, interesting characters, and an excellent setting. However, somewhere along the way, it just loses its way and never delivers the finale.

So it becomes a series of mild laughs interspersed with missed opportunities. In the end, it is better than a lot of spoofs and almost everyone should get a few chuckles out of it but somehow it missed the mark.

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