Church Ball (2006)
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High spiritual ideals don't quite mesh with the spirit of competition in this sports comedy. In the 1920s, the leaders of the Church of Latter Day Saints began encouraging their congregations to form basketball teams and church leagues as a way to promote fitness, wholesome fun, and teamwork among Mormon youth. However, the downside of this plan was the rise of wildly competitive teams who were a lot more interested in winning at all costs than good sportsmanship. In the 1970s, Bishop Linderman (Fred Willard) has been watching his Mud Lake basketball team get trounced in the Church League championships for nearly two decades, which doesn't sit well with him. Linderman used to be Mud Lake's coach before we was banned from the game for fighting, and with the team facing another losing season, he appoints a new man, Dennis Buckstead (Andrew Wilson), to lead Mud Lake on the court. When LDS elders announce that they're putting an end to church ball and the upcoming season will be the last, the pressure is on Buckstead to bring home a championship for Mud Lake's final season. But with a team comprised of myopic clerk Gene (Clint Howard), rotund Don (Chad Long), timid Thurman (Steve Anderson), half-pint car salesman Charles (Gary Coleman), short-tempered Mickey (Ross Brockley), and Borat (Sina Amedson), an immigrant who knows soccer far better than basketball, Buckstead's prospects are not very good. Not wanting to disappoint Linderman, Buckstead tries to recruit a pair of ringers for the Mud Lake team -- Moses Mahoney (Thurl Bailey), a seven-foot-tall prodigy who teaches sports to underprivileged kids, and Jeremiah Jones (Stan Ellsworth), a fierce player who may be just a bit too competitive. Church Ball was directed by Kurt Hale and released through Halestorm Entertainment, a leading producer of LDS-oriented films. … More
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Critic Reviews for Church Ball
Jokes fall flat, characterizations are sketchy at best, setups never receive their payoff, unnecessary subplots slow the already glacial pace.
Hale's directorial style relies way too much on the kind of cheesy music video montages that have long since been parodied to death, and the religious rock songs used are truly awful.
Its rowdiness, bathroom humor, cast of familiar but second-rate actors and overall disrespect for organized religion make it seem like any other bad Hollywood farce.
Recreational basketball leagues offer plenty to laugh at and screenwriter Paul Eagleston mined that material, but not as deeply as he needed to.
Will non-Mormons start noticing HaleStorm's productions? I wouldn't bet the tithing money on it yet, but they're heading in the right direction.
It commands more attention than previous efforts because of a wonderfully eclectic cast.
Despite the presence of funnyman Fred Willard, stays mostly on the pre-teen comedy level, obscuring an underlying moral about unity and reaching out to the disregarded
Relies heavily on dumb slapstick, including a few tasteless, low-brow moments.
Like Kurt Hale's previous Mormon comedies..., Church Ball envelops the viewer in the embrace of the familiar.
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