'Kingpin': a bowl of laughter

July 26, 1996|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic

Just what the world needs: Another bowling movie!

Much funnier than "Those Wacky Ten-pins," but not nearly as funny as "Strikes, Spares and Tons o' Fun!," here's the one about the one-handed bowler and the Amish kid and the gal with real big, uh, attitude.

Conceived and directed and produced by the same idiots who brought you "Dumb and Dumber," this one is dim and dimmer. No, it's not. I just said that because I thought it was kind of funny. This one is actually not as funny as "Dumb and Dumber," but still, it's pretty funny.

Woody Harrelson, who does for stupidity what Mona Lisa did for enigmatic smiles, plays a bowling phenom who, in the freshness of his youth, has his hand ground off by an automatic ball-return machine at the behest of a smarmy star bowler Bill Murray. Murray also does for smarminess what the Mona Lisa did for enigmatic smiles. Also, he's big into comb-over culture (where the bald guy grows the hair on one side of his head real long, then combs it over, and it still looks stupid but they think it looks OK, and then it gets messy and it looks really stupid).

Anyhow, so Woody, after a 17-year run of bad luck, finds an

Amish kid, played by that youngster Randy Quaid (who must be older than Woody), with a talent for hitting the 7-10 pocket. Visions of dollars dance in his head. Eventually, they set out to Reno for a big bowling tournament, joined by tough Claudia Angel.

In Reno, they bowl against Murray, even scungier this time.

Bottom line: Murray, hysterical. Harrelson: grows tiresome over two long hours. Quaid: Lose the hair, bud. Angel: Angel. Movie: now and then really funny, but a weak closer.

'Kingpin'

Starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Bill Murray

Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly

Released by MGM

Rated PG-13 (smutty humor unsuitable for children)

Sun score: 1/2

Pub Date: 7/26/96

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