KINGPIN (1996) 

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Woody Harrelson
Randy Quaid
Bill Murray
Vanessa Angel
Chris Elliot
Lin Shaye
Rob Moran

Bobby & Peter Farrelly



Time: 113 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy

To this day I don't really get why everyone loves the Farrelly brothers' movies. Just because something is gross that doesn't necessarily make it funny. DUMB AND DUMBER is a prime example. The fact that everyone was laughing around me was quite disconcerting. All I know is I rarely find their sense of humor amusing and KINGPIN was no exception. I thought this film would be different since It got some positive reviews. I just want to know what those critics were smoking when they watched this film, because I'm sure I would have been amused as well if I was stoned. Unfortunately, I wasn't. The problem for me was that the story was just plain boring. It certainly had it's raunchy moments, but they were too few and far between.

The concept had great potential: young, naive Amish boy joins forces with drunk, one-handed, ex-pro-bowler to win a million dollars to save his community from ruin...and redeem the bowler. Harrelson, Murray and Quaid are brilliant comic actors, who really try to make this movie work, but it doesn't go anywhere new or interesting. The rivalry between Murray and Harrelson's characters is one as old as time: bowling "kingpin" Ernie McKracken (Murray) sabotages the career of young, naive up-and-comer Roy Munsen (Harrelson), leaving him a broken man bent on revenge. The only different thing about the scenario is that Roy ends up with a hook instead of a hand. Cracks you up doesn't it? Since that's the only big joke up to this point they use it to the hilt – Roy catches it on everything and anything – which gets old pretty quickly.

Roy eventually hooks up with Ishmael (Quaid), a young, pious Amish man who's a great bowler. Together they travel to Reno in order to try to win the $1 million prize in a national tournament. As you might expect, the road to Reno is paved with problems and missteps. They eventually hook up with Claudia (Angel), a woman of dubious character who wants a part of the action. By pooling their "talents" they manage to scam enough money to make it to Reno, where Ishmael breaks his hand defending Roy against Ernie and Claudia leaves them stealing the forty grand they earned on the road.

"You're on a gravy train with biscuit wheels!"

With no choice left, Roy enters the tournament to prove once and for all he's not a loser. Surprise, surprise surprise. It doesn't end exactly as you would think, but by this point, I didn't really care. I just wanted it over. Harrelson and Murray are great as the dueling bowlers. I wish they were given something funny to do. Their fake hair pieces provide some of the only amusement this film gives. Quaid is highly underused, though he makes a very funny drag queen. I saw this on DVD with the 4 extra "raunchy" minutes. The one thing this film didn't need was extra footage. The sad thing is, it's so tame I can't even think of anything raunchy to begin with. Certainly not enough to fill 4 minutes. It just goes to show there's rarely any truth in advertising. I now understand why this film didn't do well in the theater...and it's not because the ad campaign was bad. The only reason to see this film is if you're a HUUUUGGGGEEE fan of Murray or Harrelson. Otherwise, skip, skip, skip.

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