More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 30%
Average: 18.57%
Pretty Bad: 8.57%
Total Crap: 4.29%

2 reviews, 58 user ratings

Latest Reviews

King Richard by Rob Gonsalves

Ghostbusters: Afterlife by Jay Seaver

House of Gucci by Peter Sobczynski

Eternals by Jay Seaver

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time by Rob Gonsalves

Anita by Jay Seaver

Spine of Night, The by Jay Seaver

Violet (2021) by Rob Gonsalves

Out of the Blue by Rob Gonsalves

Rescue, The (2021) by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"Shaky Farrelly effort; very gross at times."
3 stars

The ads for 'Kingpin' make it look extremely cruddy -- within farting distance of 'Police Academy 3.' On the other hand, it's gotten some raves; no less an authority than Roger Ebert awarded it three-and-a-half stars. (What drugs did Ebert take that made 'Kingpin' "a very funny movie, and sometimes even funnier than that"?) The truth lies somewhere in between. 'Kingpin' doesn't suck; it has some solid laughs. It also throws many gutter balls.

The movie gets off to a great start, actually. It opens in 1969, briefly introduces us to budding bowler Roy Munson, then flashes forward to 1979, when Roy (Woody Harrelson) has just clinched the Iowa state bowling championship. The directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber), crank up the disco and linger on Roy's bell-bottoms. Usually I groan at this retro stuff -- the '70s were a dumb decade best forgotten -- but the Farrellys get an exultant rhythm going, and the glitzy '70s seem the perfect backdrop for a bottle rocket like Roy.

Roy soon crashes. He falls in with a slimy rival bowler, Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray, sporting two of the ugliest hairpieces in recent memory). Ernie gets Roy to run a scam on some gullible bowlers, who glimpse Roy's championship ring and realize he's a ringer. They shove his hand into a ball return, and it's played for laughs. What is this, Natural Born Killers? From then on, the Farrellys go for pitiless frat-boy humor that makes National Lampoon look like The Brady Bunch.

Cut to 1996. (What is this, an epic?) Roy, now a pathetic drunk with a rubber hand, meets an Amish natural named Ishmael (Randy Quaid). Ishmael bowls 270, which sounds great until he explains that he bowls fifteen frames. Still, Roy sees Ishmael's potential, and for a while Kingpin gets some mileage out of their unlikely bond. There are a couple of classic gross-outs involving Roy and farm animals. Don't even ask.

But then the movie hits the road and, oddly, loses its momentum. To save the Amish farm, Roy and Ishmael must enter a tournament in Reno to win half a million dollars. Along the way, they meet a stunner named Claudia (Vanessa Angel), whose character changes according to the whims of scripters Barry Fanaro and Mort Nathan. Is she a waif or an ass-kicking vixen? A con artist or a kind stranger who wants to help the guys? Good luck figuring her out; I doubt the Farrellys (or the actress herself) ever did.

Kingpin has a meandering midsection, with far too much cruel emphasis on Roy's hideous landlady, who keeps coming back to haunt him. The Farrellys also can't get enough of Vanessa Angel's curves, and when she's not around in the Reno scenes, they zero in on countless bimbos. You don't expect comedies like this to bow to feminism, but past a certain point the movie seems to be playing to the Jenny McCarthy fans in the audience. Then there's the climax, which avoids clichés yet is unsatisfying anyway.

The cast is game (the film could have used a lot more of Murray), but 'Kingpin' ends up with a seven-ten split between hilariously tasteless and just plain distasteful.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/18/07 14:44:02
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

4/12/10 Sarah Bailey I loved this movie the first time I saw it and it gets funnier each time I watch it. 5 stars
11/23/08 Nick Good movie for some laugh's 4 stars
7/28/08 The Dork Knight Unfunny pile of shit 2 stars
10/13/07 RG Knew it was a classic in the first 30 minutes! 5 stars
1/28/07 mets1986 Best Farrelly movie...triumphs over Dumb and Dumber 5 stars
1/19/07 Ole Man Bourbon One of the Farrellys' best 5 stars
11/10/06 Zach "The Reviewer" This is a movie I have been watching since 1997.. So I can def. tell you.. INSTANT CLASSIC! 5 stars
8/28/06 Dan Rests among the pantheon of great '90s comedies. 5 stars
3/28/06 Larry Superb Bowling Movie! 5 stars
8/20/05 ES Re-watchable and hilarious, superior to dumb and dumber & something about mary 5 stars
5/13/05 Jennifer Regan Kind of funny in a weird way! 3 stars
4/08/05 Clubber Lange Dumb & Dumber with a script. Couple of complaints: Too long and not all the jokes work. 4 stars
1/15/05 Jeff Anderson A Farrelly Brothers triumph! The best movie about bowling ever made and funniest. 5 stars
4/07/04 archangeljen Some people need to have a sick sense of humor to enjoy this movie,it's one of my favorites 5 stars
3/23/04 Lord Haw Haw What's the big dieal? A few grins, nothing more. Stupid and gross do not equal funny. 2 stars
1/24/04 Dan A classic. It gets better with every viewing. 5 stars
11/19/03 KR CHris Parry -- how can you saw Murray blew in this movie? One of his best roles ever. 5 stars
7/30/03 3man Pretty funny. Vanessa Angel looks sweet! 4 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon Pissed my pants, time and time again. "You musta jarred somethin' loose, Tiger." 5 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Screamingly funny for the most part. Harrelson manages to be both funny and touching. 4 stars
3/17/03 G-man gross in some places, but still great 5 stars
1/30/03 NWO4LIFE "You crazy bastard! How the hell did you get in here?!" 4 stars
5/17/02 Natalie Stonecipher About as palatable as wiping my ass with sandpaper. I usually like Farrellys, but this --- 2 stars
10/16/01 Andrew Carden Woody Is OK, but Chris Is Totally Gross and Unfunny. 3 stars
8/10/01 E-Funk My favorite Farrelly Bros. film. The scene in the Diner with the pudding is priceless. 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Randy Quaid split my sides and almost busted by guts. The Farrellys kick ass! 4 stars
7/30/01 Gizzy Who you callin' a psycho? 5 stars
7/15/01 King Jackass Vanessa needs to lose more clothes. Ditto. But the movie rocks anyway! 5 stars
5/14/01 The Moorhen Vanessa Angel needed to loose more clothes. 4 stars
5/04/01 ChiefAlDog Bill Murray is the funniest guy on the planet. What was offensive, pussies? 5 stars
2/14/01 Jake low class, mindless comedy that was done in poor taste. Very offensive. 2 stars
2/06/01 Classicdog Funny ass movie!! Kinda disgusting but damn hilarious. 4 stars
1/22/01 jmr great movie 5 stars
6/15/00 Elvisfan i HATED "Dumb&Dumber" but this one is really pretty funny most of the time 4 stars
6/13/00 DAVID This movie is really funny!!!! 4 stars
5/14/00 MIchael Grimm very funny, comedies are so rare currently that this stands head and shoulders above 4 stars
3/10/00 Kyle Broflovski Not for the weak-of-stomach or harcore tightasses. 4 stars
1/13/00 Brent Kriewald A very funny movie...if you didn't think so, you very well might be a stick in the mud. 5 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Even Bill Murray was unable to save it. Pointless and stupid. 1 stars
8/23/99 Stevie Ray this movie fucking rocks the house boy! 5 stars
8/02/99 Weird Andy "Mary" was much more intellegent, but only half as funny. 5 stars
7/17/99 Ed Wood non-stop laughter - just gets funnier everytime I see it 5 stars
5/26/99 iyu The timing was off on all the jokes, and the only funny jokes were redone over and OVER! 1 stars
4/21/99 lucas jackson i thought the only funny element in the movie was Bill Murrah as the bad guy 3 stars
3/28/99 John Julian Thought this was a lot more of what "Something About Mary" was made out to be in the press. 5 stars
11/25/98 Fred I missed most of it as I was talking to Ralph on the porcelein phone. 1 stars
11/24/98 Mike F this movie was pretty fucking funny 5 stars
10/29/98 Silent Rob I howled...ALOT!!! 'We don't have a cow...' classic! 4 stars
10/17/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls What more can I say? So-so. 3 stars
9/09/98 Bruce Willis' mama. Farrelly's rule, but this was pretty iffy. 3 stars
9/08/98 Johny Hated it in the theater, but I laughed constantly watching on video. Go figure. 3 stars
9/06/98 Admiral Mung Bean Soda (+/- 12db) I think this was like Feeling Minnessota except with bowling pins. 2 stars
9/02/98 J-Guy laugh out loud funny. see this one. 5 stars
8/29/98 Miss Stress let's make a really stoopid movie and put a really pretty girl in it, it'll sell i'm sure. 2 stars
8/25/98 Pete Enjoyed my second viewing more than the first. Bill Murray makes it watchable. 3 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Big teeth rule. Not for the weak-stomached 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  26-Jul-1996 (PG-13)


  04-Jul-1996 (M)

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast