‘The Ringer’: Knoxville knocks it out of the park?

The Ringer (2005)

Directed by Barry Blaustein

7/10  PG-13

 “The Ringer” has always held a special place in my heart. Since its release in 2005, I’ve loved the hysterical antics of Johnny Knoxville and his co-stars. And my rating system, of course, focuses less on the quality of the movie and more on the level of enjoyment I got from it. Often, those align. Sometimes (like in this case), they don’t.

When Steve (Johnny Knoxville) gets in an insurance mess, he needs to quickly scramble to find $28,000. The easiest way? Fixing the Special Olympics, using both his high school track skills and acting experience to pull it off. Yes, you do have to suspend some belief to reasonably think this mess could ever be pulled off the way it does…but it’s a comedy.

“I’ve seen better acting in pornos.” I love reflectively relevant movie quotes. The acting throughout the movie is truly depressing—in fact, the only actors I saw giving their all were the handful of handicapable stars. They did a marvelous job, and the entertaining lines given to them by writer Ricky Blitt (“Family Guy”) utilize their comic charm. And the Special Olympics approve, saying “The Ringer” humanizes the athletes and gives the games a new aura of “cool.” That’s great, because without that stamp of approval, you might feel bad laughing. But it’s hard not to! Yes, the romance is cheesy. And yes, the story could use some substance and realism. And yes, Johnny Knoxville is much better off sticking to “Jackass” (though his dozen or so falls doesn’t put it too far off). But in the end, you should enjoy watching this low-quality piece of art. Plain and simple, it’s funny.

“The Ringer” is on DVD.

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