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.

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Fred Willard
as Bishop Linderman
Andrew Wilson
as Dennis Buckstead
Clint Howard
as Gene Jensen
Gary Coleman
as Charles Higgins
Ross Brockley
as Mickey Morgan
Curt Doussett
as Bruce Bracken
Larry Bagby
as Blake Bracken
Amy Stewart
as Susan Buckstead
Chad Long
as Don Weaver
Stan Ellsworth
as Jeremiah Jones
Thurl Bailey
as Moses Mahoney
Dillan Conrad
as Billy Buckstead
Hilary Hughes
as Heather Buckstead
Melanie Harding
as Jeremiah's Wife
Catherine Shumway
as Gene's Wife
Keri Hatfield
as Maxine Morgan
Dale Critchlow
as Rodney Munch
Mark Eaton
as Himself
Michael Birkeland
as Referee/Umpire
Jimmy Chunga
as Referee/Umpire
Brooke Kalama
as Penny Higgins
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar II
as Julius Higgins
Kevin Whimpy
as Trey Higgins
Kyle Whimpy
as MJ Higgins
Joelle Wilson
as Mr. Snead
Carrie Bowers
as Woman With Bangs
Cathy Madsen
as Hillary
Peter May
as News Reel Narrator
Jeff Olson
as Building Supervisor
Larry Miller
as Himself
Rachel Good
as Parking Lot Mother
Riley Terry
as Parking Lot Baby
Dave Hansen
as Angry Home Owner
Travis Welch
as Don's Kid
Chandler Smith
as Don's Kid
Kandi James
as Drama Queen
Kala Alexander
as Carlos Munos
Jonnie Tolman
as Padded Player
Matthew Hale
as Ringer Complainer
Aaron Shober
as Ringer Complainer
Vern Cottrell
as Hairy Player
Maclain Nelson
as Slap-Happy Player
Tim Whitaker
as Slap-Happy Player
Alex Frazier
as Inner-City Basketball Player
Spencer Greer
as Inner-City Basketball Player
Parker Wright
as Inner-City Basketball Player
Patrick Lyons
as Inner-City Basketball Player
David Ojuka
as Inner-City Basketball Player
Zach Frazier
as Inner-City Basketball Player
Larry Schlappi
as Crystal Hills Coach
Peter Pilling
as Crystal Hills Coach
Tyler Schlappi
as Crystal Hills Team
David Callahan
as Crystal Hills Team
David Rodee
as Crystal Hills Team
Bill Poppin
as Crystal Hills Team
Karl Riding
as Crystal Hills Team
Benjamin Peterson
as Crystal Hills Team
Kip Fowler
as Crystal Hills Team
Mark Madsen
as Crystal Hills Team
Leroy "Big Budda" Teo
as Polynesian Team
Daryn Tufts
as Polynesian Team
Sekoa Aiono
as Polynesian Team
Manoa Benjamin
as Polynesian Team
Michael Faasou
as Polynesian Team
Rudy Aiono
as Polynesian Team
Spencer Pei
as Polynesian Team
Nuuuli Brown
as Polynesian Team
Edward Gasu
as Polynesian Team
A. Pulu Peleti
as Polynesian Team
Joseph Morgan
as Polynesian Team
Howard Tapusoa
as Polynesian Team
Sione Fehoko
as Polynesian Team
Richard Rowley
as Polynesian Team
Ray Purcell
as Polynesian Team
Tom Farnsworth
as Yellow Team
Brad Plowman
as Yellow Team
Johnny Craddock
as Basketball Kicker
Amber Hawkins
as Visiting Teacher
Brad Call
as Bakery Assistant
Justin Thornton
as Young Bruce Bracken
Amber Bollinger
as Visiting Teacher
Tyler Workman
as Young Blake Bracken
Mike Schlappi
as Wheelchair Player
Casey Scott
as Smart Mouth Player
Mike Mecham
as Upset Crowd Member
Bernie Diamond
as Old Man Player
Ricky Carter
as Man in Sweats
Jacob Stayner
as Young Dennis
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Critic Reviews for Church Ball

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (2)

... a carefree, underdog sports comedy.

Apr 28, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Jokes fall flat, characterizations are sketchy at best, setups never receive their payoff, unnecessary subplots slow the already glacial pace.

Apr 13, 2006 | Rating: 1/5

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.

Apr 29, 2006

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.

Apr 28, 2006 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

Air ball . . . Air ball . . .

Apr 13, 2006 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Recreational basketball leagues offer plenty to laugh at and screenwriter Paul Eagleston mined that material, but not as deeply as he needed to.

Apr 10, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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