Monday, May 20, 2013

Kingpin (The Farrelly Brothers, 1996)

This week, The Vulgar Cinema is focusing on the work of the Farrelly brothers, some of the finest comic filmmakers of the last 20 years. I'm first up with a post on one of my favorite broad (but deceptively smart) comedies, Kingpin. I've seen the film a half dozen times and laugh at every gag every time, but I also gain more and more appreciation for its solid visual craft, which backs up grotesque sight jokes with exceptional timing and blocking that at times has the touch of a well-assembled silent. I also find more and more to love about the subtext hidden in plain sight, which uses the broader joke of bowling being the central sport to dig into how we as a society place a value on sports achievement for the stardom it provides. Bowling is merely a quick path to riches in this film, but the joke is less funny when one swaps the game back to "baseball" or "basketball." Dumb and Dumber was funny but surface-level, but Kingpin points to how deep the Farrellys could go when they pleased, laying the groundwork for There's Something About Mary and The Heartbreak Kid. But Kingpin remains my favorite.

Fuller thoughts can be found at The Vulgar Cinema.

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