director Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
There was a time when the Farrelly brothers seemed like they might be the next great thing for comedy films. It was right around the time of Kingpin in 1996 or even more specifically with their best film, the follow-up to Kingpin, 1998’s There’s Something About Mary. I couldn’t tell you why exactly their careers went from strikes to gutterballs, but they’ve ceased to be real players in the world of hit comedies.
I’d recalled liking Kingpin but I probably could have lived my life without watching it again. But my son selected comedies for our month genre theme and him having a liking for Bill Murray and Kingpin‘s presence on Netflix streaming all lined us up for a re-visit (or first visit) to the comedy of bowling, Amish jokes, hook hands, and smatterings of crassness that make Kingpin what it is.
Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid are fun. Bill Murray is always great. Kind of nice to see him as a charmingly bad guy sleazeball. Vanessa Angel is actually pretty good as the sexy gal pal (not that the role is particularly good). It’s also kind of funny the way the film plays the “sports movie” genre.
1996. Wow. That is almost 20 years ago now. And those 20 years Randy Quaid has gone from affable comic actor to super-crazy freakshow with his lunatic wife.
The kids liked the film. There are a few good gags that hold up. I’ve always thought that the crassness aspect of the Farrellys’ humor was not their strength. But maybe they never figured out what their strengths were in the end.
Interestingly, I’d forgotten that Jonathan Richman also showed up in this one as well.