Sometimes I think I’m an easy audience for a film. What I mean by that is that I am very, very forgiving. I can count the number of times I’ve walked out of a screening on one hand and I tend to enjoy stupid comedies because… well, I like to laugh. That being said…
“Balls of Fury” is a bundle of non-funny. I am still in awe that a film that has as many funny humans involved could be such a root canal of a comedy. I’m telling you that I did not laugh once. NOT ONCE. What’s worse, I don’t think I smiled either. This just doesn’t happen ever.
To give you the obligatory synopsis, “Balls of Fury” tells the tale of washed-up, former ping pong phenom Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler). As a child, Randy choked in an Olympic match against German Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon) which ultimately led to Randy’s father being killed because he made a bet on his son with the mysterious Feng (Christopher Walken). 19 years later, Randy, now a Reno stage act, is approached by an FBI agent (George Lopez) who has a proposal for him: return to competitive ping pong so that Feng will invite Randy to play in a secret tournament Feng throws, and thereby be in the perfect position to inform against Feng to the FBI.
Yeah, gibberish. Anyway, Randy is out of shape, so he has to train with a blind ping pong Master Wong (James Hong) and Wong’s niece Maggie (Maggie Q) in order to be capable of being invited to Feng’s tournament. Weak training montage, cheap stereotype jokes, forced romance subplot between Randy and Maggie… we’re almost 3/4 through the film and we still haven’t started Feng’s tournament.
And THAT is the biggest problem I have with this film. The real moments of interest occur when the various ping pong competitions occur, but the majority of the time they’re either short-lived (first to 3 points?), occur offscreen or are aborted altogether leaving a movie about a ping pong competition having, maybe, about 5 minutes of actual interesting ping pong to watch. It’d be one thing if all the other side-plots were interesting enough to carry it, but they aren’t.
How could this film go so wrong? Co-writers Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant are two of the comedy powerhouses behind “The State” and “Reno 911.” It has Christopher Walken as a nutty ping pong fanatic. Patton Oswalt and Diedrich Bader make cameos. It’s about the seedy underworld of competitive ping pong. All of the above make this idea so ridiculous it should be comedy gold. Instead, it’s a pile of s**t. Unfunny s**t.
Steer clear of “Balls of Fury” for as long as you draw breath. Period.