US/1996/Color/Widescreen 2.35:1/Stereo Surround,DD/113 minutes/Directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly/Starring Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid/Image/33 Chaps/Theatrical Trailer/CLV/$34.98
Combine The Color of Money with Dumb and Dumber and you have the heart of the new movie from the Peter and Bobby Farrelly the brothers who were also behind the later film. Much of the scatological humor of that first film is happily absent from Kingpin, though when it is present it succeeds with less offense.
Woody Harrelson is very good as Roy Munson, the bowler who loses his hand as punishment for participating in a hustle with tour veteran Ernie McCracken, played over the top by a smarmy Bill Murray. Harrelson stays on firm ground in the role, finding a center of honesty to the insanity. Michael Keaton was originally set for the role of Munson but wound up replaced by Harrelson. It would have been a much different movie with the manic Keaton, and I actually think Harrelson proves himself a splendid player of comedy. His timing is excellent, the seriousness of his deadpan worthy of another Keaton.
Some of the funniest scenes are set in the Amish country where Munson finds his bowling protégé, Ishmael, played with a innocent goofiness by Randy Quaid. Yeah, its silly when Munson removes some horse shoes in his own unique style, but its a joke that plays and has legs with later references. From Amish country its on the road to Las Vegas and bowling redemption for Roy.
Joining Harrelson and Quaid on the road to Vegas is the enchanting Vanessa Angel an actress who exudes sex appeal in every frame, pardon the pun. Kingpin delivers an abundance of laughter with surprising originality.
A mistake on the jacket lists the widescreen aspect of Kingpin as 1.85, while in fact the film, shot Super 35, is 2.35. The theatrical trailer is a hoot after viewing the movie, revisiting scenes to renew the laughter. Overall, this is a very fine laserdisc. Colors are bright and delightful. The image is consistently sharp. The sound of every fallen pin falls perfectly.