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August 07, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-08-07

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1

10 - The Michigan Daily'- Wednesday, August 7, 1996 ARTS
Bowling tournaments provide
easy amusement in Kingpin'

By Heather Phares
Daily Arts Writer Ishmael's farm.
On the way to Reno, Roy and
Amish drag queens, enough poly- Ishmael pick up Claudia (Vanessa
ester to outfit a fleet of used-car sales- Angel), the drop-dead gorgeous girl-
men and lane upon lane of bowling friend of a gambler that they hustle. As
pins: It could only be "Kingpin," an three unusual road buddies, Roy,
extremely silly movie about love, faith Ishmael and Claudia make their way to
and redemption on the pro bowling cir- Reno by gambling in bowling alleys,
cuit. with Ishmael providing the talent, Roy
"Kingpin" fol- providing huckster
lows Roy Munson REVIEW attitude and
(Woody Harrel- Claudia providing
son), who was the Ob Bobby Farrelly sexy distraction.
1979 Odor Eaters With Randy Quaid But when they get
Bowling Tourn- t riarwood to Reno, Ishmael
ament champ. *** (aout of five) breaks his hand,
Munsoin is now a leaving Roy to try
washed-up alcoholic with a shredded to win the tournament. Of course,
hand from a bad bowling bet insti- wackiness ensues.
gated by evil bowling whiz Ernie While a funny movie, "Kingpin"
"Big Ern" McCracken (Bill Murray). somehow falls a little flat. The perfor-
Roy is selling bowling supplies mances are surprisingly subdued, par-
and dealing with his hideous landla- ticularly Bill Murray's as Big Ern. His
dy when he meets Ishmael (Randy deadpan comic evil just seems dead in
Quaid), a childlike Amish man with comparison to the goofy sight gags
a natural touch for bowling great- that pop up constantly in the film.
ness. They team up to go to the bowl- Randy Quaid gives the best perfor-
ing championship tournament in mance as the guileless Ishmael, led
Reno to save Roy's pride and straight into temptation without blink-

ing an eye. Chris Elliott gives a hilari-
ous cameo as a gambler at a craps table
in Reno; there should have been more
of him, as well as Murray, in
"Kingpin."
Parts of the film are also extremely
contrived. Yes, a movie about an
Amish bowler and an amputee is not
exactly realistic, but the sudden love
affair between Roy and Claudia comes
out of nowhere, as does Ishmael's
return home during a crucial point dur-
ing the tournament. Also, weirdly
enough, Big Ern is never paid back for
all the rotten stuff he does to various
other characters, though he seems to
be set up to get his comeuppance.
Though the main characters all get
what they deserve, Big Ern doesn't.
Apparently bowling movies, like life,
aren't exactly fair.
"Kingpin"'s main strength, however,
is its goofy humor and gross-out sight
gags. As with "Dumb and Dumber,"
which was also directed by the Farrelly
brothers, there are loads of fun to be
had if you're into bodily fluids.
Roy "milks" a bull on Ishmael's
farm, mistaking it for a cow; Roy has

sex with his hideous, snaggle-toothed laugh or two, as are Roy's stuck-in-the
landlady to pay off his rent, and then '70s outfits.
pukes his guts out and Ishmael's Also, keep an eye out for some
ridiculous bowl haircut is a sight gag strange musical cameos: Jonathan
in itself. Roy's cheap prosthetic hand Richman crooning away in a bar, Urge
also gets laughs as it spins around Overkill playing the national anthem at
attached to a bowling ball and is used the bowling tournament and Blues
by somebody other than Roy to feel up Traveler as an Amish boogie-rock band.
a girl. Roy and Big Ern's pathetic Ha! Witty drawing-room comedy it's
attempts to disguise their balding with not, but "Kingpin" is easy watching
combed-over coifs are also good for a the easily amused.

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