Sunday, December 25, 2005

This "Ringer" is humor-challenged

I'm not sure what I was expecting from a movie about a guy who pretends to be retarded to rig the Special Olympics, but it certainly wasn't this.

Ricky Blitt, a writer for the sharply satirical and usually dead-on "Family Guy," has made "The Ringer" into just another pedestrian generic-guy-learns-life-lesson-and-gets-the-girl flick (if that gives too much away, I'm sorry. Believe me, there's not much suspense here.)

I miss the days when Johnny Knoxville was just a "Jackass." I never caught much of the TV show, but the movie is the definition of guilty pleasure, just tons of laughs. No one learned anything, or at least they shouldn't have.

Here, he just wants to be Adam Sandler, but we already have one too many of those.

The principal fault of "The Ringer" is that Knoxville's character, Steve something-or-other, is supposed to be likable. He's just duped into this scheme by his evil uncle, national comedic treasure Brian Cox, whose star turn is long overdue.

How much funnier would it have been if Knoxville played this one in "Jackass" form, as someone vile enough to take on such a stunt, and then to get his comeuppance at the hands of the people Cox repeatedly refers to as "tards?" Loads more than "The Ringer" is.

On the bright side, the mentally challenged actors are in on what little joke there is, and they are all charming. Can you laugh at these people? Well, I can, and not feel guilty at all, because they are funny as hell, and they know it.

They make every scene they are in with Knoxville better, which sends mixed signals at best about his future in movies. There's a sweetness to it all, but not nearly enough to carry a feature-length flick.

In case you can't tell, I take my humor like I do my coffee, black. Dave Chappelle's blind white supremacist Clayton Bigsby who, unbeknownst to him, is black? Hilarious. The "South Park" episode in which Cartman thinks he can take down the Special Olympics and handicapable Jimmy gets hooked on steroids? Infinitely funnier than "The Ringer," which stole its premise but forgot to hijack the jokes.

Satire should have a bite along with its bark, and at least one target. "The Ringer" has none, and still manages to miss them all.

I was supposed to see "The Producers" today, but Young Jeezy made sure that wouldn't happen by not taking the stage at Money's this morning until just after 2 a.m. Perhaps that's the standard in hip-hop circles, but for someone who is often in bed by 9:30 p.m. it was a stretch.

I attempted to take some photos for The Telegraph with a friend's digital camera, but the scene was chaos and I probably failed epicly. Great show, but definitely my oddest Christmas morning yet, and I simply don't have the energy to sit through two hours of Nathan Lane.

Tomorrow I'm heading to NYC to see my family, and also some great movies. Check in at week's end for a head's up on some that will eventually even hit Macon.

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