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August 31, 2007 | Comments ()


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Cinematic Swamp Ass

Balls of Fury / Dustin Rowles

Film Reviews | August 31, 2007 | Comments ()


Christ in a goddamn wastebasket. This is how we emerge from Classics Week? With Balls of Fury? It feels like the reverse bends; I’ve gone from so high to so low so quickly, I’ve got compression sickness — I just shot a brain loogey out my left ear. I know that the last week in August is supposed to be the dumping grounds for studio flotsam, but for fuck’s sake, a Jersey landfill full of 100 years of excrement-filled non-biodegradable Huggies isn’t enough to mask the funky-ass month-old testicle-sweat stink of Balls of Fury.

And who the hell is Ben Garant, and why did they let him behind a camera? No. Why do they let him exist? “The State” was decent, but that’s not enough to give this guy fucking carte blanche in Hollywood to write and direct anything he wishes. Lookit: This is what he’s written when not working on “Reno: 911!” (and even that was of arguable comedic merit): Herbie: Fully Loaded, Let’s Go to Prison, The Pacifier, Night at the Museum and Taxi. Is there a worse writer in Hollywood? Besides Donald Rumsfeld, is there any one man responsible for more suffering these last three years than Ben Garant? Hell, I have to hand it to the guy. I thought Captivity was the death knell of torture porn, and that I Know Who Killed Me was its last, rasping cough before the genre choked to death on its own sputum. But, Garant has found a way to resurrect it: Now, instead of witnessing the torture on screen, we get to be the victims of it. Smart, Ben. Real fucking smart. You cock monkey.

Can Balls of Fury really be that bad? Ummm … yeah. Actually, maybe a little worse. I mean, when a film fails to elicit a single laugh from an entire audience of 12-year-olds, you know you’re more off base than a philandering army wife with a bad case of the black snake moan. Balls of Fury was terrible; an inept script executed with all the skill of a drunken firing squad aiming shotguns with all the propulsive power of a wet fart. You may not die watching Balls of Fury, but you’ll wish you had. The only saving grace is that, like the trauma of childbirth, I thankfully forgot most of what I witnessed seconds after leaving the theater. Thank fucking God for shock.

But, from what I do remember, Balls of Fury featured the divine “talents” of one Dan Fogler, the most obnoxious, loathsome piece of tub Hollywood has ever shat out of its gangrenous rectum. To say he’s a low-rent Jack Black would be a disservice to cockroach infested, crime-ridden Section 8 housing. Where did this ass stain come from? Broadway? He won a goddamn Tony award? For serious? For what? Best dramatic performance by a fuckstick? The first I ever saw of the guy was in last year’s horrid School of Scoundrels and suddenly he’s freakin’ everywhere, infesting movie theaters like a parasite that feeds on paint fumes: He gets bigger and more brain dead every time I see him, and he’s got another seven flicks headed our way like a shitbrick shot out of an ass cannon, including a movie called The Number 13 in which he’ll portray Alfred Hitchcock.

I wish Hitchcock were alive so he could throw M. Night Shyamalan at Dan Fogler.

So the plot — not that it’s worth repeating — goes a little something like this: An 11-year-old Randy Daytona, the top-rated ping pong player in the world, suffers a humiliating defeat to an East German ping-ponger (Thomas Lennon, who co-wrote) during the ‘88 Olympics after he trips and knocks himself silly, uttering “I’m going to Disneyland,” from his stunned position on his back. That’s the joke … and one that would be a minor running gag throughout the film: The ironic use of “I’m going to Disneyland.” Vey.

Nineteen years later, Randy (Fogler) is doing some ping-pong show in some shitty Vegas establishment when he’s recruited by an FBI Agent (George Lopez, making what must be considerable pains to be even more insufferable and unfunny than usual, so as not to show up Fogler) to use his mad ping-pong skills to infiltrate an underground table-tennis tournament in Japan, run by Christopher Walken, who I think is supposed to be Asian in the film. You never really know with Walken — he’s got one gear, and it’s apparently kooky; I mean, is there anything else Walken can do? He’s got 109 credits to his name, and I bet they’re all variations of kooky: Asshole kooky (Wedding Crashers), authoritarian kooky (Catch Me If You Can), hokey kooky (Blast from the Past), psycho kooky (Pulp Fiction), disturbed kooky (The Deer Hunter), awesome kooky (Fatboy Slim’s video), what-the-fuck kooky (Gigli) and, his most popular variation of late: Paycheck kooky.

Whatever. After a series of stupid, moronic, dumbass, fuckwitted Karate Kid style training sessions with a blind mentor (who uses the same chopsticks to jam into nostrils, vice testicles, and eat with) and his daughter (Maggie Q, whose one joke in the film is to call everyone “table jockey”), Randy finds himself in the tournament, where a loss results in death. And you’d imagine, since it’s a ping pong movie, that there’d be more ping pong in it. But, because the table tennis is the only thing in Balls of Fury with entertainment-like substance, there’s surprisingly little of it in the film, largely — I’m guessing — because Dan Fogler was too out of shape to keep up with the heavy demands of swinging a goddamn paddle in the air. God, I hate him. He’s an embarrassment to the Def Leppard T-shirt he wears in the film. Is there a way to DeFoglerize movies? To edit him out and replace him with a giant dungheap? I’m telling you: That man is a waste of carbon. I’d suggest wiping your ass with the film stock if it weren’t such a goddamn insult to toilet paper.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives with his wife and son in Ithaca, New York. You may email him, or leave a comment below.



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