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Catch-Up Capsule Reviews for the Week of 9/2/2007:

Balls of Fury



Rated PG-13 | 90 mins


     If there is a single thing that Balls of Fury does extremely well, it’s that the film proves that good ideas for movies do not necessarily translate into good movies themselves. The trailer for Balls of Fury showed that the flick had promise: ridiculous table-tennis matches, Christopher Walken acting as outrageously as his muscles could muster, instances in which the term “sudden death” literally meant sudden death. But in the feature, all of these clever moments never amount to comedy of greater weight; they merely exist as fragments that could’ve been part of a decent movie. In essence, director Bob Odenkirk and screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant never bother to realize that corny lines and goofy characters only prove truly amusing when they are supported by a humorous background story. Balls of Fury certainly lacks any kind of comedic meat, existing for the fruitlessly unfunny purpose of being random. Not even Walken himself can save the floundering material; due to the absence of a personality behind his character, the actor is left to sit on the sidelines and play the same stereotype that he has in countless other bad films. Only during the creatively-staged final ping-pong match did I feel as though Balls of Fury was coming into its own and, by that time, it was far too late for the picture to redeem itself. Avoid this embarrassment and its insipid antics at all costs.

The Brothers Solomon



Rated R | 91 mins


     How unfortunate that The Brothers Solomon, an affable comedy about two brothers trying to make a baby (not together, of course) despite the fact that they are totally unprepared to be parents, has been released on the same day that the story of a Cincinnati woman killing her infant by leaving it in a hot car has broken. I don’t mean to make light of such a serious issue by comparing it to such a silly film; in fact, I believe that it is disgraceful that the woman isn’t going to be prosecuted for her evil doing. However, it should be noted that the viewer’s knowledge of the occurrence makes The Brothers Solomon seem far less humorous than it likely would’ve been a week ago. During a scene in which stars Will Forte and Will Arnett each prepare for fatherhood by catching baby-dolls as the other drops them from stories above, the whole experience has an eerie quality about it. What might’ve come across as amusing when The Brothers Solomon was being filmed now just serves as a reminder of all the idiotic, unfit parents that exist in the world.

     That all being said, The Brothers Solomon wouldn’t be a comedy worth writing home about even if it didn’t bear the aforementioned, strange topicality. A great many passages in the film remain unaffected by the recent events and nonetheless prove only intermittently funny. For Forte and Arnett, The Brothers Solomon represents only a mild (albeit raunchier) step-up from their regular shtick seen every weekend on “Saturday Night Live”. Much like recent episodes of that program, the movie was clearly made with pleasant intentions, but never achieves a memorable level of laugh-out-loud hilarity. In three or four months, The Brothers Solomon will make for a perfectly acceptable rental. Until then, moviegoers’ time is better spent watching more-inspired material.


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