The Ringer is affectionate, respectful and gives Johnny Knoxville the cast he needed to shine

We arrive on “Jackass Forever” day (it really should be a holiday), which is definitely the perfect time to revisit this underrated little gem. The Knoxville crew chief got real star power under his wings when the TV show “Jackass” (and the first movie that followed) debuted, and it gave him the opportunity to expand his acting career for a while. He did this remake of “Dukes of Hazards,” the remake of “Walking Tall” with The Rock, and the comedy-drama “Daltry Calhoun” (among a few other big-budget pictures) between the first and second “Jackass” movies.

But “The Ringer” is potentially his most underrated project of this period. It took seven years for the movie to finally get made, as it took tons of convincing to get the Special Olympics to approve the project. They finally gave their blessing after getting the final say on the script – and it’s easy to see why. Knoxville’s character is never once alienating or unfair, or even harsh to his intellectually disabled peers, and he is initially disgusted by the concept of the rip-off. One could even argue that Steve Barker’s decision to resort to this type of offensive fraud speaks volumes about the lengths we are often forced to go in a capitalist society, and even about the American health care system, but it is a story for another. daytime.

The film also employed hundreds of cast and crew members with intellectual disabilities to work on the project, including the ragtag group of hilarious Special Olympics contestants who share the screen alongside Knoxville. They make him a better actor in this movie by forcing him away from the mundane slapstick and comedic tactics he’s used to, both in his narrative traits and in his stunt-laden reality work. In fact, they make him an actor — period. This is the first time (and one of the only) in which Knoxville is really more than a pretty face saying lines on a screen because someone wanted him to try to be the definition of someone. else from a leading man. He owes this performance to his handicapped peers, and it seems that they also mobilized to receive him as a stage partner. Along with the cute comedy and silly-but-diabolical plot, it’s a great reason to try this movie before or after your “Jackass Forever” screening.

Reviews are, of course, subjective, but the end Roger Ebert said it best in 2005, when “The Ringer” was released: “The movie surprised me. It treats its disabled characters with affection and respect…and it’s actually kind of nice.” You can repeat it.

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