The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE RINGER (2005) ***


Jackass Johnny Knoxville’s gardener loses his fingers in a grass cutting accident, so he has to do what any good employer would do and pay for his operation.  Since he doesn’t have insurance that means he has to pretend to be retarded and enter the Special Olympics while his sleazy uncle (Brian Cox) bets the farm on him taking out the top contender.  Knoxville also falls in love with a cute volunteer (Katherine Heigl), which seriously complicates matters because after all, she thinks he’s mentally disabled. 


The Farrelly Brothers produced this consistently funny flick, which dances around the fine line of political correctness by making all of it’s disabled characters three dimensional.  There’s even a funny scene that takes place after they learn Knoxville is a fraud where they actually encourage him to go through with it, just because they’re tired of having the same spoiled athlete win the competition.  The film is an equal opportunity offender as it mocks regular folk just as much as the retarded.  (In one scene to study how retarded people act, Knoxville rents Rain Man, I Am Sam, Forrest Gump, and… The Best of Chevy Chase.)  The Special Olympics even granted the filmmakers their blessing with this flick, so you shouldn’t feel too bad at laughing at the more off color jokes. 


Sure the story is packed with clichés, but there is at least some genuine heart to the flick and the performances make it work.  Knoxville is great in the lead, even though the line of his character acting “normal” or “retarded” gets a little blurry sometimes.  Cox is a hoot as the crass uncle and Heigl (just before she hit the big time with Grey’s Anatomy) is just peachy as the love interest.  The real mentally challenged actors all do a fine job as well, but it’s Jesse Ventura (in a vocal cameo) who gets the best line of the movie when he says, “I’ve had bowel movements with more spine than you!” 

Tags: comedy, r


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