balls of fury

Well, I’m glad I didn’t pay to see this in the theater, but watching the library’s copy for free (thanks to my girlfriend) was just fine.

There’s a little too much story and not quite enough jokes, and at least half of the jokes are weak serves, and probably a quarter of those involve star Dan Fogler getting kicked in the nuts or having expensive electronics shoved up his butt or otherwise abused and grimacing in pain. He doesn’t bring a lot to the movie aside from tastefully underplaying a lot of the comedy and being at least 60% less annoying than Jack Black. I’d bet money that if they weren’t hoping to land the man himself they were at least telling the casting director to get “a Jack Black type,” and frankly I’m glad they got this guy instead. But watching him get hurt still isn’t funny.

Fortunately, watching Christopher Walken do Christopher Walken is enough to keep a slow Sunday night moving along, and there are a few other funny moments with the rest of the cast. Having Walken’s harem of courtesans be all-male is one of those weak serves, but it’s returned more vigorously at the end of the film when Fogler has to go back into danger to rescue them from their cell. This subgenre of competition-movie parody is all but played out (Dodgeball, Blades of Glory, even Zoolander) but roping in clichés from other formulas helps this one stay afloat just a little longer.

Still, I wouldn’t give it your undivided attention. Maybe put it on in the background while you’re doing your taxes.