Knoxville plays down-on-his-luck office-type Steve, whose desperate attempts to get a raise from his superior lead to the sacking of nice foreign janitor Stavi (Luis Avalos), who then loses a few fingers in a lawn-mowing incident. The stage is set for Knoxville to fix the Special Olympics, with the help of his Uncle Gary (Brian Cox), to win a large cash sum to pay for Stavi's operation, and settle his uncle's debts.

Now, I'm no doctor, but surely fingers need to be attached immediately after they've been severed to achieve successful reapplication? Apparently not, but my insufficient medical knowledge wasn't going to put me off at such an early stage. After a pretty tedious, funny if you're 13, knoxville acting like a "tard" montage, the film gets underway as Steve adopts the psuedonym Jeffy and gets his uncle to sign him up for the games.

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Knoxville is determined to be Jim Carrey's inferior impersonator for the duration of the film, occasionally pulling away from such tomfoolery when the script requires a little more depth and, shockingly, even manages hint of dignity. Well, almost.

The performances are fairly well executed and there are some genuinely funny moments, even some genuinely dramatic bits. Some of the gags fall pretty far from the mark, but that can't be helped really, after all, it is an American comedy.

The main competitor and challenger to Jeffy's success is Chris Rock-a-like Jimmy "Champion" (Leonard Flowers), who it turns out, no one really likes, thus, all the genuine athletes are eventually rather thrilled at the prospect of Jeffy cheating his way to victory. Throw in a little love story full of deception and we are sorted for some feel good fun.

The Ringer isn't amazing, but it does turn out to be a cut above the average poke in the eye. It might be worth a rent, definitely worth watching when it hits the small screen, but it doesn't warrant a permanent purchase.

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2006
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Nice guy pretends to be mentally handicapped so he can win Special Olympics.
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Kotleta ****1/2


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