The Ringer Review

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Saddled with a friend’s massive medical bills, Steve Barker (Johnny Knoxville) conspires to rig the Special Olympics by faking a disability so his gambler uncle (Brian Cox) can place bets on him to win. He faces the challenge not only of fooling his rival


Finally, after such egregious swill as Walking Tall and The Dukes Of Hazzard, likeable yahoo Johnny Knoxville finds a vehicle worthy of his genial white-trash mettle. In this warm-hearted, minor comic treat — artfully disguised, in the best Farrelly tradition (they’re producing), as splutter-inducing spazzploitation — Knoxville plays Steve Barker, an affable office drone who pretends to be “retarded” (note quotation marks) to win the Special Olympics.

Which sounds, admittedly, like a gratuitous excuse for a chortle at the “differently-abled” folks’ expense and for Knoxville to funny it up by acting like a “spacker”. And, yes, it is. Sort of. True, Knoxville impersonates a “spacker”, but the solid supply of laughs comes at no-one’s expense.

Fully endorsed by the real-life Special Olympics, the film also stars a number of real-life disabled athletes who are obviously so used to being patronised and/or underestimated that they have developed a deliciously bone-dry sense of pre-emptive humour that’s both disarming and hilarious. And to whom pussyfooting around in PC slippers would have been a disservice...

As with Stuck On You, this is proof that when the Farrellys are involved (even as mere producers), ribald yet humane comedy can be mined from the most potentially offensive sources.