"Balls of Fury" has neither balls nor fury
Ping-Pong Comedy drops the ‘balls'
"Balls of Fury" is one part ‘Blades of Glory,' one part ‘Dodgeball' and two parts George Lopez, except there's no outlandish humor from Will Ferrell or Vince Vaughn regrettably. Also unfortunate is the fact that George Lopez is actually in this movie
From director Ben Garant ("Reno 911!") comes an epic, sprawling saga of table tennis with "Balls of Fury." It's a comedy (I guess that's what you would call it, though I don't remember laughing too much) about a down-and-out former professional ping-pong sensation, Randy Daytona (Dan Fogler of "Fanboys"), who is brought out of his shamed retirement by FBI Agent Ernie Rodriguez (George Lopez) who recruits him for a secret mission.
Randy (who LOVES Def Leppard, and lip-synchs not one, but two songs during the movie) must bounce back to his former glory
and avenge his father's (Robert Patrick) death by defeating his killer, one of the FBI's Most Wanted, the diabolical Feng (Christopher Walken).
It's been two decades since Randy's played professionally though, and he can't turn his life around and avenge his father without an all-star team of his own. In a move straight out of "Karate Kid,"
Randy seeks out spiritual guidance from blind Ping-Pong master and restaurant owner Wong (James Hong).
After getting his balls back, Randy sets off to Feng's mysterious jungle compound to compete in one the most peculiar Ping-Pong tournaments ever staged. I guess I don't have to tell you that he faces an odd assortment of characters in ridiculous matches of table tennis
, in hopes of battling Feng himself.
Okay, so let me make this perfectly clear. I hate George Lopez. The man is about as funny as Carlos Mencia
(of Comedy Central's ‘Mind of Mencia') so, basically what I'm saying is, he isn't funny at all. "Balls of Fury" might have been half-decent without his horrid inclusion, but ‘might haves' don't count in the competitive world of movie reviews.
The only really redeeming quality of this film is James Hong as the wise and honorable master Wong. He's hilarious and truly fitting in a universe filled with insane ping-pong tournaments and more Def Leppard t-shirts than you can shake a drum stick at
Dan Fogler holds his own here - and I think he has potential to be a funny guy at some point in his career, but it's just not happening with "Balls of Fury." He's kind of like Jack Black with the sound turned down, or Seth Rogen without the sense of humor
. He's trying to get his foot in the door, and who can blame him, but I think he took a huge misstep with this sorry excuse for a spoof movie.
"Balls of Fury" deflates within the first hour and falls flat on every level. When the jokes should be laugh-out-loud funny, there's only a mild "thanks for the effort" laugh
- and when a line should be clever and deserving of a hearty "HA!" it only gains a muffled chuckle at best.
I'm a fan of the "Reno 911!" television show, but thought Garant's film follow-up "Reno 911! Miami" missed the mark, and it seems "Balls of Fury" suffers from the same problems. Not enough funny - and what is funny is stretched so thin and regurgitated to the audience so many times that it isn't funny anymore, it's just annoying
Don't bother with "Balls of Fury." Save your eight bucks for something a bit more entertaining, like perhaps 16 games of Skee-Ball
-then you're guaranteed to get something in return - like some tickets you can cash in for a spider ring or at least some Smarties.
If you like George Lopez... well, I don't even need to tell you where you can go (and I don't mean the theater
, although I'm sure you're already in line).