Balls causes fury in disappointed viewers

Clichéd comedy nothing but a let down

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Balls of Fury montage

Compared to the comedic goldmines that hit theatres this summer, Balls of Fury sucks balls.

The latest from director Ben Garant (Reno 911) failed to meet the high expectations set by the likes of Knocked Up and Superbad.

Relative newcomer to the big screen Dan Fogler plays Randy Daytona, a former ping-pong superstar whose career was cut short by a humiliating defeat. The washed-up twenty-something is forced out of retirement when he becomes an FBI agent’s (George Lopez) only chance at busting an underground ping-pong gambling ring.

Daytona is sent to compete to the death against the world’s best players after intense training with Master Wong (James Hong), the blind yet horny ping-pong wizard.

The biggest problem with Balls of Fury is that it offers audiences nothing new. It is formulaic and tired, offering something we have all seen a million times before.

The clichéd characters and crass one-liners prove the “awkward man playing an obscure sport” genre (think Dodgeball, Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory) is no longer clever. In fact, it’s kind of lame.

Speaking of cliché, if David Koechner (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman) is in one more movie where he plays a bumbling idiot with a southern drawl, the world is going to end. Koechner’s role as Daytona’s employer at a low-budget lounge club is thankfully a small one. The sad part is he probably would have been somewhat funny had it not been for the recycled material.

Balls of Fury also displays an outrageous amount of politically incorrect jokes and stereotypes.

Writers Garant and Thomas Lennon show no mercy for Asian, Latino, German, Australian, Black or White people.

There is also a tinge of homophobia in a scene involving male sex slaves and board games.

While the film is not blatantly offensive, it might be a little crude for more reserved viewers, but fortunately for Garant and Lennon, the film doesn’t cater to the conservative crowd.

It is worth mentioning that every so often the audience is treated with a scene that is genuinely hilarious. These rare moments almost always include the presence of legend Christopher Walken.

Unfortunately, Walken doesn’t make his appearance in the film until it is half-over.

Walken plays Feng, the elusive ringleader of the gambling ring. His creepy persona combined with an array of neon robes is the film’s saving grace. The final battle between Feng and Daytona is an epic display of Walken in action.

Balls of Fury did not live up to its hype, but at least one lesson was learned: in a generic film with stock characters and jokes, more Walken, like more cowbell, is always better.

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