Reviewed: The Ringer (2005)

Ringer_Knoxville.jpgOkay, so the story of this one is about a guy played by Johnny Knoxville (MTV’s Jackass) who pretends to be mentally challenged so he can win the Special Olympics.

Sounds like a winning formula for a movie, doesn’t it? Why hasn’t anyone done this before (or since), you say? Also, what are the names of the people responsible so I can write an abusive letter to express how offended I am by this concept because anyone who’d even attempt such a thing must be of the lowest moral calibre?

All right, calm down. Hold the phone and pay attention because this movie has a lot more going for it than trying to push people’s buttons.

First things first, bear in mind that this is a comedy and everyone involved in the movie is in on the joke. Most of the cast are mentally challenged (you might even include Knoxville, considering his Jackass antics) and they get their own time to shine and give as much as Knoxville does.

The story begins with Steve (Knoxville) who’s working an office job and showing a lot of promise with it when on this day his boss calls him in to do a little dirty work in the form of firing the illegal immigrant janitor. When Steve realises the position he’s putting the janitor (and his family) in by firing him, he feels terrible and hires him as a personal caretaker. This leaves Steve a little out of pocket but things are going along steadily until the janitor cuts all his fingers off in an accident with a lawn mower. Steve takes him directly to hospital but when it comes to the question of who’s going to pay for the operation, he’s out of cash and ideas.

This leads Steve to call upon his Uncle Gary (Brian Cox) to repay a loan which Gary never planned on repaying. This coincides with Gary being “asked” to pay some gambling debts he’s racked up with some local thugs. While this is happening, the bar TV is showing a promo for the Special Olympics. Uncle Gary gets the idea in his head that if he can make one more double or nothing bet using Steve’s acting ability to participate in and win the Special Olympics, he’ll be able to clear his debts and everyone will be happy. Steve’s not over the moon about this idea but he goes along with it because there’s nothing else he can do.

Knoxville’s mentally challenged impersonation isn’t over the top (I don’t imagine he’d feel too good taking it any further in front of the supporting cast) but the Special Olympians see through his act pretty quickly and confront him about it. Upon explaining his predicament, they agree to help him try to win but none of them believe for a minute that he actually has a chance.ringer-9The film addresses a few aspects of political correctness but it mostly works to remind us that above all, the mentally challenged are people too.

In terms of movies to watch, you could do worse (Jackass: The Movie comes instantly to mind). This one has some good laughs and a little heart to boot.

2 thoughts on “Reviewed: The Ringer (2005)

  1. My favorite line from this movie is when the main character is asked his last name….he doesn’t have one made up, so her reminds the guy he’s mentally challenged.

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