Kingpin - * 1/2*

The latest comedy from the makers of Dumb and Dumber is a variation of the same theme. Kingpin is a better film, but it can’t seem to find a level of consistency. Woody Harrelson stars as Roy Munson, amateur bowling champ of Iowa in 1979. In a freak bowling accident, engineered by his rival Ernie McKracken (Bill Murray), Roy loses his hand and quits the pro circuit. Seventeen years later, an aging Munson stumbles upon bowling prodigy Ishmael (Randy Quaid). Roy sees a gold mine, but, unfortunately, Ishmael is Amish and has no desire to join the pro tour…until his extended family’s land is threatened by the bank. Roy happily takes Ishmael under his wing as they travel to Reno for the big championship match. The humor is highly hit-and-miss, ranging from the hillarious (Roy’s misadventures among the Amish folk), to the incomprehensible (Ishmael’s job at a strip club). The film goes a bit overboard on the sheer number of rubber hand and combover jokes, though. Harrelson does a good job of conveying bitterness, while Quaid has conquered that 45-year-old innocence bit hands down. Vanessa Angel’s beautiful con artist, however, seems confused and miswritten. The film gets into trouble when it either takes itself too seriously, venturing into earnestness, or when it doesn’t take itself seriously enough, and wanders aimlessly away from the storyline. There are several good laughs here, but they can’t carry the film.

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