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Comedy Movies - National Lampon's Blackball - Vince Vaughn

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National Lampoon's Blackball
James Cromwell, Paul Kaye, Vince Vaughn, Alice Evans
Directed by Mel Smith
kaBOOM! Entertainment 2005
97 minutes

National Lampoon's Blackball is a very good sports comedy with only one instance of the jock and fart humour National Lampoon comedies have become infamously associated with.

National Lampoon's Blackball is also the only lawn bowling comedy, romantic comedy, and sports movie to have ever made it on these shores. Blackball is simply a great little funny movie which makes me wonder why it says National Lampoon on the cover and in the title. 

It has all the ingredients of the genres listed before. Cliff Starkey (Paul Kaye), a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, shows up club champion Ray Speight (James Cromwell of Babe and Star Trek fame -he played Zefram Cochrane--), gets banned from the sport of bowls (lawn bowling for the Yanks and some Canucks), falls in love with Ray's daughter, becomes the bad boy of the game thanks to a Vince McMahon style agent played by Vince Vaughn, lets fame go to his head, and is then teamed with arc-enemy Speight in a doubles championship against the Australian team.

Of course there is a boy finds girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back angle thrown in but it also becomes a dad has daughter, dad loses daughter, and dad gets daughter back story to explain the British team's terrible performance in the first half of the championship.

Another reason National Lampoon's Blackball works is that even if you know how things go in romantic and sports movies, the whole class warfare it pokes mild fun at the stodgy old fellows of the Torqay bowls club and the ancient people interested in the sport.

Director Mel Smith only drops the ball once in a National Lampoon moment where Cliff's best friends comment on the game he is watching on the telly interfere with Cliff's mating with his girlfriend.

This National Lampoon comedy is an odd, very entertaining, quite funny movie that is definitely worth looking into even if the seventies rock soundtrack is too loud compared to the rest of the movie.



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