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"KINGPIN"
(1996) (Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Bill Murray) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate *Mild Moderate None Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild Minor Minor Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A disabled, but once great bowler finds a protégé he believes can make him rich and famous again.
PLOT:
In 1979 Roy Munson (WOODY HARRELSON), is the best young bowler in the country, even beating veteran Ernie McCracken (BILL MURRAY), a sleazy, shameless bowling ham. Ernie feels threatened and thus sets up a bowling hustle that goes bad and ends up with Roy's hand being ground up in a ball return machine. Seventeen years later, Roy is a hard drinking burnout, barely making ends meet. But good luck is around the corner in the body of Ishmael (RANDY QUAID), an Amish farmer boy whose secret sin is bowling. Immediately seeing greatness in him, Roy persuades Ismael to leave the Amish way of life and join the bowling tour. Ismael initially doesn't want to, but learns that his family's farm will be foreclosed if they don't come up with $500,000 which just happens to be half of the amount of an upcoming bowling championship. So, Roy, Ismael and a woman they pick up on the way, Claudia (VANESSA ANGEL), make their way to Reno where Ismael competes against the still formidable and ever sleazy Ernie.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's goofy enough that they just might (although there were no kids present in our screening). The gross humor and sight gags will be a draw to some.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For crude sex-related humor and a drug scene.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • WOODY HARRELSON plays an alcoholic, disabled former bowler and con artist. In the end he turns out okay, but for the majority of the time he's not a good role model.
  • BILL MURRAY plays an egotistical, sexist, bowling slime ball who isn't a good role model.
  • RANDY QUAID plays the corrupted Amish farm boy who is introduced to cigarettes, booze and women and enjoys them all.
  • VANESSA ANGEL plays a woman who leaves her boyfriend after he hits her and joins the bowlers on their trip to Reno. She picks a fight with Roy and is referred to as a whore and has a reputation for sleeping around (although we don't see any of that).
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 pins out of 10
    If you like your comedy dumb, stupid and gross, this movie's for you. There's plenty of all of that present, and if you're looking for a sophisticated movie you're in the wrong place. In a flick like this, performances are usually over the top and Murray and Quaid fit that bill perfectly. Harrelson actually isn't bad as the disco bowler turned middle-aged bum, and the plot, while occasionally flittering off in strange directions, keeps one interested up to the final championship game. We give this film a 6 out of 10 for some occasionally funny scenes.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This film may or may not be appropriate for your kids depending on their age and whether you want them exposed to lots of "humor" coming from bodily functions, sexual connotations and physical disabilities. There's a good amount of profanity and not many good role models. Read through the listings and see if you think this film's appropriate for your kids. While much of the material is played for laughs, kids might not understand that.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • In many of the bowling scenes people are seen drinking beer.
  • Ernie and Roy drink beer at a bowling alley.
  • Ernie and Roy hustle some locals to win a bowling bet acting as if they're drunk.
  • A man imitating a priest drinks.
  • When asked what he's been doing for the past seventeen years, Roy responds, "Drinking."
  • Roy drinks hard liquor right when he wakes up in the morning.
  • While trying to hustle another bowler, Roy says that Ismael was sniffing glue out in the parking lot.
  • Claudia offers a beer to Roy.
  • Roy drinks whiskey.
  • Roy and Claudia drink champagne in the car, while Ismael takes a hit from a bong.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • While none of these are bloody nor gory, they might be considered disgusting to some. They are as follows:
  • Roy is seen repeatedly throwing up in the toilet after having had sex with his repulsive landlord.
  • Roy carries a bucket and has white foam on his mouth stating that he just milked the cow. The Amish farmer informs him, however, that they have no cow, just a bull.
  • Ismael reads an ad from a newspaper and responds, "One bull, one testicle, five hundred dollars. For that much money you'd think you'd get two testicles."
  • There's a farm animal sex joke implied. When Claudia can't manage to distract several older farmer bowlers, they bring in a sheep which does the trick.
  • Ismael is seen sitting on a urinal (we assume he's using it for something other than urinating).
  • Ismael flosses his teeth for the first time and big chunks of food fly from his teeth.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • There are many jokes made at the expense of Roy's artificial arm (including many where it flies off, or gets stuck in a bowling ball, etc...)
  • Ernie has a bad attitude throughout as he only thinks about himself and what he can get out of others.
  • Ernie talks to Roy to distract him during a championship game.
  • It's implied that Ernie put sugar into Roy's car engine, ruining it.
  • Ernie and Roy hustle some locals to win a bowling bet acting as if they're drunk.
  • A person imitating a priest drinks, calls a woman "sugar," pats her on the butt and has a drink.
  • Ernie leaves Roy to be beat up by some locals they've just hustled.
  • It turns out that a robbery at knife point (see "Violence") was set up by Roy so that his landlord, being grateful that he saved her life, wouldn't be after him for his rent.
  • Roy impersonates being Amish to try and persuade Ismael to bowl for him.
  • Claudia's boyfriend slaps her in another room. We don't see it, but hear the slaps and yelling.
  • Some American Indians drive by Ismael and throw some garbage down onto his feet (spoofing the antipollution commercial from back in the 1970's).
  • A woman is referred to as "top heavy."
  • Claudia is referred to twice as a whore.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knife: Used during the robbery of Roy's landlord.
  • Knife: Pulled out by a man to threaten Roy.
  • Knife: Used by Claudia to flatten her boyfriend's tire.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Piss," "You suck," "Bastard," "Stupid banana head," "It bites," "Shut up," "Loser," "Schmuck," "Pinhead," and "Whore."
  • Roy's landlord gives the international sign for cunnilingus (spread fingers with licking between them) that kids, although they probably won't know what it is, might imitate.
  • Roy's landlord snuffs out her cigarette in the palm of her hand.
  • Roy spits his food out at an Amish dinner table when he realizes that others are waiting to eat.
  • Roy accidentally drives a nail through his prosthetic hand (harmless to him, but kids might try and imitate it).
  • Roy puts shaving cream on Ismael's hand while he sleeps and then tickles his nose to make him smear the cream on his face. Ismael returns the joke, and later Roy is seen with a bandaged nose (it's implied he whacked himself with his hook).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There is just one scene where Claudia's boyfriend returns and threatens violence toward Roy and Ismael and there's some minor tense music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 20 "s" words, 9 hells, 4 "ass" words, 3 damns, 3 craps, 2 S.O.B.'s, 1 slang term each for female genitals and breasts (the "p" and "t" words respectively), and 2 uses of "God damn" and "Jesus," and 1 use of "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Roy tries to sell glowing florescent condoms to a bowling alley manager. "They're fun even when you're alone," he tells the man.
  • It's implied that Roy and the landlord slept together. He's in the bathroom throwing up. She's in bed smoking a cigarette. She then gives him the international sign for cunnilingus (spread fingers with a licking motion).
  • Roy describes Ismael's gift: "It's round, and it has three holes that you stick your fingers into." Misunderstanding him, Ismael responds, "You leave Rebecca out of this."
  • Roy's artificial hand flies off and lands on a woman's clothed breast while she makes out with a man. Roy removes the rubber hand and places the man's hand in its place on her breast.
  • Claudia, in order to distract Ismael's bowling game, goes and stands in front of a fridge and returns with erect nipples that can be clearly seen through her shirt. She also offers a beer to Roy who responds, "I'll have two jugs -- uh, two mugs."
  • Claudia mentions to Roy about his prosthetic hand, "It must be tough when you're spanking your monkey." (Reference to masturbation)
  • Roy tells Claudia, "Just because you spend most of your time in the missionary position, doesn't make you a missionary."
  • Claudia is seen jumping around in some skimpy outfits trying to distract the other bowlers.
  • There's a farm animal sex joke implied. When Claudia can't manage to distract several older farmer bowlers by acting sexy, they bring in a sheep which does the trick.
  • At a strip bar, a woman dancer in a skimpy outfit dances on top of Ismael (no nudity seen).
  • At another strip bar there are exotic dancers. Ismael is then seen dancing on the stage, dressed in a bikini and sliding along the dance pole.
  • Ernie, when asked about a paternity case says, "There's no case there, I pulled out of her early."
  • Ernie tells Claudia, "It's a small world when you have incredible t*ts."
  • A wealthy male gambler says he'll pay Roy one million dollars to sleep with Ismael and moments later we see Ismael lying on a bed moaning in pain. Soon we realize it's Roy day dreaming about making money.
  • There's a commercial showing Ernie as a sponsor for fatherless boys. Of course all of their mothers are very sexy, and Ernie is seen with his hands on their hips, etc... One boy talks about how Ernie's always there and how sometimes when he wakes up Ernie's already at his house. In the last scene, Ernie is seen behind a bent over woman who's ready to hike a football to him. He flips up her skirt and places his hand behind her behind.
  • A large breasted woman runs up to Roy and Ernie, who then feels her breast as she's escorted away.
  • Claudia is referred to as a whore twice.
  • SMOKING
  • In many of the bowling scenes people are seen smoking cigarettes or cigars.
  • Ernie, Roy, Ismael and Ernie's landlord are occasionally seen smoking cigarettes.
  • Some men outside Roy's rental unit smoke cigarettes.
  • Roy smokes and offers a cigarette to Ismael who at first refuses but later accepts as Roy says that the tobacco companies wouldn't lie about cigarettes being dangerous.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Roy tells Claudia (while visiting the ruins of his father's gas station) that he heard that his father died ten years earlier, but that he didn't have the guts to come to the funeral.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Not to make fun of people with disabilities.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Roy, as a youngster, accidentally breaks off the top of a picket pence when he jumps over it.
  • Ernie opens his car door into Roy.
  • Some hustled locals smash the back of Ernie's car and then grab Roy and take him inside the bowling alley. There they run his hand into the ball return and Roy screams. Later we see Roy with a prosthetic hand and/or hook, so it's implied that the locals ground his hand up.
  • Roy accidentally spills some coffee (it's cold) onto a baby in a stroller.
  • A thief robs the landlord at knife point, trying to steal her purse. Roy comes along and throws his coffee in the man's face who then runs away.
  • A young boy punches Ismael in the stomach.
  • An Amish farmer tells Roy to remove a horse's shoes. We don't see the following action, but we hear the sawing sound and later Roy walks up with several cut off horses' feet. We also later see the horse being much shorter than the other horses.
  • Roy is accidentally hit in the crotch by a bowling ball.
  • Roy wakes up a napping Ismael by grabbing his nostrils with his hand hooks.
  • Claudia's boyfriend slaps her in another room. We don't see it, but hear the slaps and yelling.
  • Claudia's boyfriend punches Roy in the gut and then his associate pulls out a knife. The boyfriend then tells his associate to take Ismael out back and make his hand look like Roy's. The lights go out and Roy, Ismael and Claudia flee.
  • Outside, Claudia stabs a knife into her boyfriend's tire and then leaves with Roy and Ismael.
  • Roy punches Ismael in the face so that several other locals (who are mad at him) don't beat him up more severely. It's later stated that Roy also rubbed Tabasco sauce in Ismael's eyes.
  • Claudia kicks Roy in the crotch for planning on taking Ismael and leaving her behind. She then wants to fight, but he doesn't. So she hits him several times in the face and he then slams her against a car. She hits him in the gut, he throws her up on a car hood, she kicks him in the head and then in the crotch again. He then punches her breasts, and she head butts him and kicks him in the gut. He then bites her in the leg and they finally stop after they realize that Ismael has left.
  • A cobra strikes a pet store owner on the head, who then bites the snake on its neck.
  • Ismael tries to punch Ernie after he insults Roy.
  • Claudia's boyfriend threatens Roy and Ismael: "Wait till I see what you do to your friends."
  • Claudia's boyfriend punches Roy who then punches the assistant who then accidentally punches the boyfriend.



  • Reviewed July 27, 1996

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