There have been a ton of sports films made rarely though will you find one that concerns itself with bowling. From the fact that The Farrelly Brothers (There’s Something About Mary, Shallow Hal) are the directors and that the subject is bowling you know this is not going to be your typical comedy or sports film. Which is a good thing, right? In this case, yes, as Kingpin, while not making huge box office did go on to become a cult favourite.
A bowler who loses his hand pretty much loses his future in the sport. That is the story of Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson – from television’s Cheers), who from childhood was raised by his father to be the world’s best bowler. In an incident involving Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray – Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation) and a gang of punks Roy ends up losing a hand. Worse than that is that it is his bowling hand. He gives up his dream of being a bowling star, gets a prosthetic hand and starts making a living as a traveling salesman.
Not really happy with his life, but plodding on things begin to change for Roy on the night he meets Ishmael (Randy Quaid – Brokeback Mountain, Independence Day). Ishmael is Amish and loves to bowl. Now this is against his beliefs so he has to sneak away to bowl. Roy convinces Ishmael to take him on as a coach and Roy guarantees him that he will make him the best bowler in the world. It takes some convincing, but eventually Ishmael is on board.
The two begin traveling around and Ishmael discovers he loves the world outside his farm. Soon Roy and Ishmael come up against Roy’s old foe Ernie, who is now a world class bowler. Ernie is living the life filled with recognition, women and adoring fans. They will now go head to head at the ultimate bowling championship.
Kingpin is a comedy made by a well written script, the quirky talents of The Farrelly Brothers and excellent casting. A different kind of comedy that was largely overlooked when it was first released and had now gained an audience through repertoire screenings and DVD releases. This is the first time you can see it in crystal clear blu-ray.
It is a comedy that will have you laughing plenty and it is not really about the end results rather the journey. How they get you to the funny bits really in truly are the funny bits. It really is a case of sharp comedic writing with jokes inside of other jokes. Not for everyone and you certainly have to be in the mood, but if you are you won’t regret it.
-Theatrical and Extended R-Rated Cut
-Kingpins: Extra Frames with The Farrelly Brothers