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Sean Patrick Flanery,
Ex-private dancer Beth aspires to be a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, when she falls in with Dink, a sports gambler. Sparks fly as she proves to be something of a gambling prodigy--much to the ire of Dink's wife, Tulip.
Try as he might, the roguishly handsome Cliff Starkey, just can't keep out of trouble. In his sleepy home town on the English coast, nothing much inspires him...apart from bowls. Cliff has always preferred to play by his own rules much to the disapproval of the regimented, elderly bowls fraternity. Before long, the bay boy of bowls is turning the sedate and very English pastime upside down with hysterical results. Written by
It's richly ironic that a comedian perhaps best known for triggering a fit of clinical depression in Steve Martin by asking him why he wasn't funny anymore should himself be so horrendously unfunny on screen, but Paul Kaye certainly proves that's the case with the irredeemably dismal Blackball. A poor actor and a worse comic, his bowls ace from the wrong side of the tracks is one of the most horribly misconceived characters in years, so utterly charmless, repugnant and phenomenally unlikeable that you can only sympathise with the film's nominal villains and hope that one of them will bash the obnoxious bore repeatedly over the head with a bowling ball until his legs stop twitching. Yes, this is a film that actually has the power to make you side with Daily Mail reading snobs
The story follows a predictably formulaic route Kaye's bad boy of British bowls falls foul of the old farts who rule the sport, becomes a media sensation thanks to a ruthless agent's media machinations and lets success go to his head before redeeming himself and yada yada yada. Except in this case he actually seems slightly LESS obnoxious when at the height of his success and egomania than he is in the rest of the film. Vince Vaughn gives the film what little energy it has as his agent, James Cromwell adds a modicum of class as his professional rival and prospective father-in-law while Alice Evans characterisation consists almost entirely of looking awkwardly to one side of the other whenever he says anything, though not rolling her eyes in contempt at her co-star was probably such a titanic effort that you can't really hold it against her. If you really feel the need for a good comedy about bowls, check out Aussie flick Crackerjack instead.
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