The Ringer

Wrong…so, so wrong. Just look at the film’s tag “Special has been redefined.”

When all around nice guy Steve (Johnny Knoxville) asks for a promotion and gets it, his first order handed down from his boss is to fire the janitor Stavi. When Steve attempts to fire Stavi he quickly begins to backpedal and offer him a better job, with better pay and medical insurance. The job is to mow lawns at Steve’s apartment complex and Stavi soon has an accident with the lawnmower.

To save Stavi’s fingers, Steve must raise $28,000 for the surgery. Steve calls his uncle Gary (Brian Cox), who has a gambling problem, to reclaim some money that was loaned to him years ago. Gary finds out that his bookie has a soft spot for Jimmy, the athlete who has broken every Special Olympics record. Gary, who himself has a large debt, decides that the easiest way for the two of them to pay their debts is to enter Steve into the Special Olympics and bet against Jimmy.

Leave it to the Farrelly brothers to produce a comedy that involves the Special Olympics. Please do us all a favor and take this movie for what it is, a mindless comedy. While watching this film in the theater many people were standing up and leaving, presumably because they were offended. This film can be judged as offensive by some, but it actually received a blessing from the Special Olympics. That blessing was the only thing that made this film possible. The attitudes on the set show that the intent of the filmmakers was not to poke humor at the disabled. Actor Jed Rees, who plays Glen, explained his experiences on the set by saying “I was nervous about how I was playing my character at first, but when these guys approved, I relaxed.” Peter Farrelly added that “It was the greatest experience of my life. You show up to work every day and the first thing you know, 30 people are hugging you. It changed every single crewmember.”

The movie is funny and worth seeing, but also worth forgetting. The Ringer is not one of those amazing comedies that will outlive the decade and touch a new generation. The special features include two messages from the Special Olympics that show just how intense the competitions are, there are 16 deleted scenes that prove to be rightfully deleted and some commentary. Technically speaking, the DVD is just plain average.

The Ringer is funny and has a lot of heart. The film will make you laugh, but won’t make you pick it up over and over again to watch it.

The Upside:
For a movie about rigging the Special Olympics, it’s tasteful.
The Downside:
Somewhat offensive if you read too much into it.
On The Side:
It took seven years to get this film made.

Breaking Down the DVD:
The Film: C
The Delivery: C
The Extras: C
Final Grade: C

DVD Stats:
Release Date: May 16th, 2006
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Luis Avalos, Brian Cox
Directed by: Barry W. Blaustein
Writing Credits: Ricky Blitt
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug references.
Country: USA
Run Time: 94 min.
Studio: Fox Searchlight (official site)
Watch the Trailer Here

Technorati Tags: Special Olympics, Disabled, Mentally Handicapped, Comedy, Fun, Funny

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