Just what the world needs now — a lazy, low-brow comedy in which the game of ping-pong becomes a springboard for some lame kung-fu action and a steady stream of innuendos about testicles of various shapes and sizes.

Balls of Fury is actually a bit better than you might assume from the preceding description, but not by much. Dan Folger (one of the more supremely unattractive leading men in the entire history of cinema) stars as Randy Daytona, a former table tennis prodigy who, after a legendary defeat two decades ago, has been reduced to an obese, Def Leppard-loving clown doing dinner theater in Reno. Randy's chance at redemption comes when FBI agent George Lopez recruits the poor slob to help bring down a Chinese Triad boss (Christopher Walken), who just happens to be a huge ping-pong fan, and organizes private tournaments that give new meaning to the term "sudden death."

Walken hams it up even more than usual here — with his glittery capes and mile-high pompadour, he's both Siegfried and Roy, along with a touch of Coppola's Dracula — but carpet chewing will only get you so far. The movie gets by mostly on sheer nerve, clearly delighted with the hilarity of its premise (everybody cracks up at the mere thought of ping pong, right?), but the energy level drops noticeably after less than an hour of jokes that occasionally hit their mark but more often than not feel like rejects from Dodgeball or Naked Gun 4. And when in doubt, the movie simply shoves another pair of chopsticks up someone's nose and kicks another character in the crotch.

Balls of Fury (PG-13) Stars Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, George Lopez, Maggie Q, James Hong, Aisha Tyler, Jason Scott Lee and Thomas Lennon. Opens Aug. 29 at local theaters. 2 stars

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]