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With Jim Sabatini

Balls of Fury

Balls of Fury
Christopher Walkin, George Lopez, James Hong and Dan Fogler

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: August 29, 2007 Released by: Rogue Pictures

Extreme ping-pong action is served up with cheery crudeness in the spoofy, intermittently ebullient Balls of Fury.

Starring Christopher Walken, George Lopez, and longtime character actor James Hong, the film's tagline of being a "huge comedy with tiny balls" doesn't paddle its way with as much wry gusto as Blades of Glory did in the figure skating arena.

Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911! Miami) directs and writes (along with Thomas Lennon) this odd stewing of martial arts pictures with newcomer Dan Fogler as luckless one-time table-tennis phenom Randy Daytona.

He's recruited by Lopez's FBI agent Rodriquez to get back in the game where he was humilated back in the 1988 Olympics.

Fogler, somewhat resembling the late stand-up comedian Sam Kinison, ends up going through a lot like Ben Stiller in some of his comedies like ones opposite Jennifer Aniston and a diorama in Night at the Museum.

The pratfalls and lowbrow zaniness extend through the big tournament to smoke out the mysterious, arch-fiend Feng (Walken) whose colorful wardrobe calls to mind ominous characters from the likes of Flash Gordon and Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula.

The production is hardly ornate as Feng's elaborate hideout, and the movie runs out of cliches to hold it together. Hong seems to be a good fit as the edgy sightless instructor (shades of Karate Kid) for Randy, as the memorable gags are mostly seen in the trailer. Walken seems to be content to work off the parody of himself in a more self-conscious turn after Hairspray.

Lopez gets to have a virile Tony Montana moment, and the cast seems more spirited during the end credits where they sing a hard rock tune from Def Leppard who happened to sign Randy's paddle. Balls of Fury finds some glory from the presentation of the sport, but doesn't distinguish itself much beyond that.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Balls of Fury       C- F     D+

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