Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Knoxville, Katherine Heigl, Brian Cox, Bill Chott, Edward Barbanell, Leonard Earl Howze, Geoffrey Arend, Luis Avalos, Leonard Flowers, Zen Gesner, John Taylor, Jed Rees, Lauren Elaine
Written by: Ricky Blitt
Directed by: Barry W. Blaustein
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug references
Running Time: 94
Date: 03/19/2013

The Ringer (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Special Forced

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Steve Barker (Johnny Knoxville) pretends to be mentally disabled so that he can enter the Special Olympics and bet on himself. It's a horrifying and potentially explosive idea, but producers Bobby and Peter Farrelly and director Barry W. Blaustein play it safe, humanizing the real athletes just enough so as not to be offensive, but going just far enough with the offending material as to be entirely unfunny. Even Knoxville, perhaps the screen's most obnoxious "actor," goes the earnest route (is he trying for an Oscar?) with his portrayal of athlete "Jeffy." Then there's the usual cute girl (Katherine Heigl) and the predictable plot arc. Only Brian Cox plays it unsafe -- and gets any laughs -- as Steve's uncle, the author of the ruthless scheme.

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