After hitting paydirt with “Dumb and Dumber,” Peter and Bobby Farrelly kept the ball rolling with “Kingpin,” a silly sports comedy aimed at the world of bowling. Starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and Bill Murray, this 1996 feature, in many ways, outwits the exploits of Harry and Lloyd and draws big laughs by parodying everything from “The Natural” to “Witness.” When disgraced bowling champion Roy Munson (Harrelson) discovers the hidden talents of kind-hearted Amish farmer Ishmael Boorg (Randy Quaid), he takes him under his wing in a bid to defeat his former rival, Ernie McCracken (Murray).
Yes, the film is as goofy as the plot suggests, but the Farrelly brothers show an incredible knack for silly comedy that keeps the picture rolling from the first frame to the last. Yet, critics such as Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum found the on-screen antics appalling, writing, “But even if you are a connoisseur of jokes about vomit, big chunks of stuff excavated from mossy teeth by dental floss, and really bad comb-overs (are you doubled over with soda-out-your-nose laughter yet?), the humor-to-gross out ratio is perilously low here.”
Oddly, the Farrelly brothers don’t do anything different with “Kingpin” than they do in their other works, including the critically praised “There’s Something About Mary,” which makes the adverse reactions all the more puzzling. Personally, I think “Kingpin” hits a strike.