Kingpin is an early Farrelly Brothers comedy about an amateur bowling champion named Roy Munson who
got hopelessly lost on his way to a professional career. Years after having his
dreams crushed, while living as an alcoholic con man, he spots a chance at
redemption when he discovers and hopes to manage an Amish bowling whiz. Woody
Harrelson plays the sleazy Munson, while Randy Quaid plays the Amish lad with
the Dutch Boy haircut, and they are both amusing, but the show is stolen, as you
might expect, by the unrestrained antics of Bill Murray as Big Ern, the
sleazebag king of the pro bowling circuit. The Farrellys point out in
their DVD commentary for this film that Murray showed up, looked at his script,
learned the basic facts about his character, then tore up the script and
ad-libbed his entire role, all while staying professional enough to allow the
other actors to interact with him. The brothers were a bit unnerved at first by
the volcanic Murray, and they were more than a little bit worried about losing
control of their film, but they ultimately let the crazy man do his thing
because ... well, because he's Bill Freakin' Murray, and you have to trust his
comic instincts. They speak of Murray in the same awe-struck, reverential tones
that political pundits would reserve for Nelson Mandela or Christians might
reserve for Jesus himself.
And maybe that's they way it should be. At least it worked out for
The Farrelly Brothers made three very funny films when they started
out their careers: Dumb and Dumber (1994), Kingpin (1996), and There's Something
About Mary (1998). The next 12 years didn't produce as many laughs, and those
first three films remain in the top three slots on their filmography as ranked
by the IMDb rating.
Oh, I know the Bros are trying to grow up but, dammit, I love those
three films and wish they'd get back in that immature groove. Maturity is vastly
overrated. Especially in comedy.
Here's Vanessa Angel with
the dreaded intentional double nip-slip, degree of difficulty: 9.7. The
Farrellys have cast Vanessa again in their latest film, Hall Pass, which is
expected to be released in February.