St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message
 

Movie review

Avoid the guilt trip of 'Ringer'

By BILLY NORRIS
Published January 2, 2006


MOVIE: The Ringer

RATING: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and some drug references

SUMMARY: In a pinch for money, Steve Barker (Johnny Knoxville) collaborates with his also financially troubled uncle, Gary (Brian Cox), in a scam to rig the Special Olympics. Posing as a mentally challenged man named Jeffy, Steve believes that his abilities will far surpass those of the real Special Olympians, guaranteeing a big payoff on his uncle's high-dollar bet. Upon finishing his first race against some truly high-class athletes, he quickly realizes that his task will not be easily accomplished.

MY VIEW: This is the latest offering from the notoriously adventurous Farrelly brothers, and their intentions here are questionable at best. This film is touted as an encouraging piece of work that glorifies the Special Olympians (who are, indeed, extraordinary people) without being blatantly offensive. The filmmakers employed 150 of the organization's athletes as actors/stand-ins, and the organization's chairman and CEO, Timothy Shriver, had final say over the script. It seems as though that would assure a clean, completely nonoffensive product. The end result, however, is an uncomfortable attempt that patronizes rather than glorifies, and wins nothing but nervous laughs from the audiences (who, in my case, didn't know whether to laugh or to be offended). Strangely enough, the humor is fairly tame (especially by the Farrellys' standards), yet it still manages to create just enough tension to make for a bad movie-going experience. All controversy aside, it's really not even that funny. Some may believe that this is a noble attempt, but I honestly felt guilty watching it. Nobody wants to go to the movies to feel guilty.

RECOMMENDATIONS: In my winter movie preview, before I had seen the film, I recommended that this film be avoided at all costs, strictly based on initial reports and the film's guilt-inducing preview. After seeing the film and giving it my honest evaluation, I stand by my initial counsel. There's really no need to see this film.

GRADE: D

Billy Norris, 18, is in the 12th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the X-Team.

[Last modified December 30, 2005, 09:38:04]


Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT