22 March 2005 | BigHardcoreRed
The Happy Gilmore Of Bowls.
I think it is fair to say that National Lampoon's Blackball borrows heavily from the whole concept that made Happy Gilmore the success it was. While this was not as good or nearly as popular, it is far better than many of the recent movies National Lampoon has released lately, most recently Holiday Reunion.
Cliff Starkey (Paul Kaye) is a renegade bowler with a natural talent to make the balls do pretty much whatever he needs. He knows the trick shots and knows the game inside and out. Due to some childish pranks on his part, he is suspended from the game for 15 years so is reduced to playing only exhibitions. Thanks to Rick Schwartz (Vince Vaughn), who is something of an agent, he builds up Starkey's name as an attraction while at the same time, gets him the endorsements and appearances. Basically, he makes him famous. This is where the bowling league decides they are missing out on a lot of cash by not having him.
The movie moves towards teaming Cliff with his arch enemy in the bowling field, Ray Speight (James Cromwell) against Australia's baddest bowlers, Kyle and Mark Doohan (Mark Dymond & Mark Little). The English team of Starkey and Speight are having problems getting their heads in the game due to Starkey's press coverage of himself with Speight's daughter, Kerry (Alice Evans).
Blackball was by no means as good as Happy Gilmore was, if you are into these types of films, but it is definitely the same genre. The renegade bad boy is bringing new fans and more money to an otherwise dull sport. It is not too high on the list of great comedies, but if you like this type of humor, or National Lampoon for that matter, then it is one of their better efforts since they stopped making the Vacation movies. 6.5/10