THE RINGER | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

In this feel-good low-rent comedy, an underachiever (Johnny Knoxville), at the behest of his shiftless uncle with burdensome gambling debts, pretends to be mentally retarded, hoping to best the real competitors at the Special Olympics. His new teammates -- played by a mix of actors and real-life Olympians -- quickly spot "Jeffy" as a fake, yet decide to help him maintain his ruse for reasons of their own. Produced by the notoriously offensive but soft-hearted Farrelly brothers, who gave the Special Olympics board final cut, Barry W. Blaustein's film manages to be goofily funny while also illustrating what often gets lost in "serious" films about the developmentally challenged, which can restrict the character to physical tics and an overly serious nature. The gang in The Ringer is variously petty, generous, competitive, wise, foolish, smitten, prankish -- and quite likely can kick your ass out on the track. (AH)


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