Balls of Fury (DVD)

Although 2007 was not a strong year for movies, comedy seemed to fare worst of all. From lame no-joke efforts like The Heartbreak Kid to crass gross-out timewasters like Good luck Chuck, there was very little to laugh at in the cinemas — save for Jude Law’s desperate attempts to hide his balding head. This film is not going to serve any purpose other than giving those desperate for another helping of turkey the opportunity to get their teeth into something. Oh, and fans of Maggie Q should also be happy.

Set in the world of competitive table tennis, washed-up prodigy Randy (Fogler) is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the lair of ping pong loving criminal kingpin Feng (Walken). Helped by the daughter of an old master (Q), Randy must win the underground contest and save the world as well as his own life. So much for the plot. The film relies heavily on overweight Fogler trying to convince everyone he really is a legend around the table. Fogler was recently seen as the vile sidekick in Good Luck Chuck and he does make a noticeable effort to step up his game here. But he’s let down by a weak, underwritten character which only allows for some CGI sight gags to create the laughs. The athletic Maggie Q is easy on the eye as she was in Die Hard 4.0, but the high-kicking love interest routine is starting to wear a bit thin. Walken is faxing in another so-so performance, which never really has the chance to grab the audience, as it is too long for a cameo and too short for a notable-supporting role. The film does fall foul of racial stereotypes (if we’re not talking the barrel-scraping levels of the Rush Hour franchise then we’re not far off) and overall I can think of better ways to spend my days off than watching this trashy and forgettable movie.

EXTRAS * A few deleted scenes (well, seven, to be exact), an (unfunny) alternative ending and two featurettes. The first is a making of, cleverly called Balls Out. The second is a tacky little piece featuring a rather buxom blonde whose job was to look after the ping pong balls on set, and is full of lame testicle gags. It's called Under the Balls: The Life of a Ball Wrangler. Readers of Zoo and Nuts magazines will find it simply hilarious. Normal people will simply wince.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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