Starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, Bill Murray.
Opens: July 26, 1996 | Rated: R
If you like your comedy cro-magnon low brow and very cutting -- and sometimes I do -- "Kingpin" can be a riot. The stuff that is funny in a twisted sort of way will make your sides hurt.
Comb-overs from hell, a shocking and funny gag (and I do mean "gag") regarding a broke bowler "paying" rent to his desperate and ugly landlady the only way he can, are the kind of thing you laugh at in spite of yourself.
And for such a twisted comedy, the story does explore some areas -- self-pity, not living up to your own expectations -- not usually associated laughs. But for every unexpectedly hilarious guffaw, there is an easy cheap shot (LOTS of boob jokes), and for every moment of uncomfortably unexpected depth, there is another unbelievably shallow.
"Kingpin" is the story of a star bowler who lost a hand (Woody Harrelson) and became a hustler, barely scraping by. He comes across an Amish kid (Randy Quaid) with an arm of gold and exploits him for everything he can get.
They hit the road for a million-dollar contest in Reno and meet up with The Bimbo (Vanessa Angel) and the Arch Rival (Bill Murray).
My recommendation: Sneak into the last 20 minutes, the bowling climax in Reno, for the funniest part -- the battle of the absurdly over-the-top comb-overs between Harrelson and Murray. So funny it hurts.
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