Roy: Well, I uh, well, ya see, I uh... Drinking. Lot a drinking.
ESPN Announcer: I see. Well, are you still drinking?
Roy: No. I uh... I put... uh... Why, you buying?
From the directors of Dumb and Dumber and There's Something About Mary, this is probably the Farrely Brother's most underrated film. I say that because along with the goofy gross out humor in this movie, it has a great heart, with characters that develop and grow by the end of the film. I am mainly referring to Woody Harrelson. Between killing innocents in Natural Born Killers and sporting a prosthetic hook and a beer gut, the fact that he can humanize these characters is very impressive.
Harrelson stars as Roy Munson. He starts earlier in his life as a state champion bowler, with the whole world ahead of him. Enter Bill Murray as Big Earnie McCracken, a rival bowler and asshole. Big Ern gets Roy involved in a hustle scam gone wrong, resulting in the loss of Roy's hand.
17 years later, after much drinking and giving up on life, Roy encounters Ishmael, played by Randy Quaid. He is a young Amish man, who happens to be a good bowler. Roy sees this, and convinces him to go to Reno with him to compete in a bowling championship, with a first prize of one million dollars, which they will split down the middle. This is of course a convenient prize amount, because Ishmael's Amish community needs half a million to save their farm.
Along the way, the boys meet a hotty, Claudia played by Vanessa Angel, who will help them to make it to Reno through small time betting and scamming.
As goofy as the plot is, especially when turning to Ishmael's naive senses when experiencing the world for the first time, this movie is a very good character movie, with very good comic performances as well.
There are many gags throughout this movie, most of them work, some don't, and some come with a punchline much later in the film.
Next to Harrelson, you have Bill Murray who is only in the beginning and end, but everything he does is hysterical.
This movie even has a good soundtrack that moves along nicely with the scenes.
By the end of the movie, the conventions of a sports movie take hold, but in a way, they also don't, which is what makes me like this movie even more during the final ten minutes.
This is a very funny movie, with a funny cast, some gross-out humor, but still done in good spirit.
Roy: Thomas can raise a barn, but can he pick up a 7-10 split?
Ishmael: God blessed my brother to be a good carpenter. It's okay.
Roy: Yeah, well he blessed you, too, and I'll give you a hint what it is. It's round, has three holes, and you put your fingers into it.
Ishmael: You leave Rebecca out of this.
He meets a very naive and trusting Amish man, Ishmael Borg (Randy Quaid) who shows a special talent for bowling. He tries to convince him to compete, but unfortunately for Roy, Ishmael refuses the offer and leaves to go home. Roy finally convinces Ishmael to leave his roots to win big bucks in the Million Dollar at the Reno Bowling Tournament. Along the way, they meet smarter-than-she-looks sexpot Claudia (Vanessa Angel).
While Woody Harrelson is perfect as a loser ex-bowler. Bill Murray pretty near steals the show though as Harrelson's ego maniac arch enemy. Vanessa Angel is also really good as Harrelson's partner. For a raunchy comedy that's actually funny, check out Kingpin.