I couldn't wait to get "Beach Kings" in the mail. I love Beach Volleyball. I've played the sport, lived at the beach, and have followed the AVP for 20 years. Unfortunately, that did not keep my finger off the fast forward button, 1x, 3x, stayed on 4x for 70% of the film. It was too painful to watch. Nothing in this film even vaguely resembles the culture surrounding the sport. This movie does for beach volleyball what David Hasselhoff did for music and lifeguards - absolutely nothing.
The writer/director Paul Nihipali jr., whose other TV credits include cinematic masterpieces like: Behind the Movie: Rugrats in Paris and Playboy: Celebrity centerfolds, has obviously never spent any time at the beach or even played the game. The AVP is "two on two" beach volleyball - played by a very elite group of shirtless bad asses - sporting nothing but six pack stomachs, board shorts and attitude. The beach crowd in this film consists of oddly dressed, out of shape dorks that would be beaten and thrown off the beach if they ever dared to approach a doubles beach game at Hermosa or Manhattan. To add to my disgust, they were playing "6 on 6 picnic ball". The so-called "locals" in the film include a hippie in short shorts and a main character that looks and dresses like "Larry the cable guy".
This is a cheap, badly cast, poorly shot film, with an "afternoon special" script. It stars "Baywatch" actor David Charvet and "Erkel" - no really - Jaleel White. The scary part - is that the failure of the film can't be blamed on them. The writing was pure crap. German Shepherds have farted better treatments than this. Charvet's character is a spoiled ex college "basketball" star - who lives in his own whiny little, self absorbed world. He breaks a store window in one scene - just because he's feeling sorry for himself. Wah! The basketball flashbacks look like they were shot at a YMCA with the lights off and a spotlight. They couldn't afford a crowd scene I guess. Charvet's inner voice narrations "Every athlete has a dark side." remind me of a bad Chuck Norris film (they were all bad). Dark side? This game is played in the sun on the beach for Christ's sake! Make it stop! Please make it stop!
The sad part, is that the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) gave the film full support, allowing the crew to film at real events. Several great players have cameos in the film for a few seconds at a time. At least they are believable and show some comedic promise. BUT, those scenes only amount to about 5 minutes of the total run time and there are no "special features" on the disc to make it worth renting. The remaining 1 hour and 30 minutes comprise - what I truly believe to be - one of the worst films ever made. What a waste! Did anyone at the AVP bother to read the script?
I can't even recommend this film to kids or people who have never seen a volleyball. There is just no reason to care about any of these characters. However, if you think Baywatch was a thought provoking, a realistic portrayal of lifeguards - buy the DVD. If not, you're better off buying a ball of yarn or foil for the kids to play with.
What upset me off the most, was a scene in which they portrayed the AVP players as stuck up jerks and the locals as a cuddly teddy bears. In reality, it is the local amateur players that have the overinflated egos and something to prove where ever you play. The actual AVP players are humble and more approachable than any group of professional athletes you will ever meet.
Hollywood has an amazing ability to take a fascinating subject and turn it into an unwatchable piece of crap. Believe it or not "Side Out" was a better film than "Beach Kings" and that was a real stinker in which the big game was won at the end - when the star "C Thomas Howell" throws the ball - an illegal volleyball move that would have awarded the other team a point. Technical consultants should be mandatory on all movie sets and should be allowed to carry unconcealed assault weapons.
Maybe someday, someone will make a real movie about the great sport of Beach volleyball. But don't hold your breath.
As long as directors of VHI specials are allowed to produce feature films - no sport is safe.
Rather than returning the movie to Netflix, I opted to spike it violently it into the sand, then hang it from the net at my local sand court and burn it in effigy like a prep rally mascot. This at least eliminates the possibility of another AVP fan actually renting the toxic disc.