A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In addition to the overall bad behavior shown by Roy, part of the narrative is the gradual introduction of a religious youth to sinful pleasures, like liquor, scamming, smoking, and lapdancers (even though the boy never quite goes wholeheartedly into corruption). A priest (or someone pretending to be one) acts lasciviously toward a sexy blonde. An arrogant sports champ uses his athletic standing for sex, and the climax holds the lesson that good guys don't always finish first. Sports gambling is a major plot component.
Violence & Scariness
Impressionist, non-visual violence as the main character's hand is mutilated. Fistfights and crotch kicks.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The heroine wears a succession of revealing and sexy outfits, in one scene with exaggerated erect nipples under her blouse, in another with her large breasts acting as punching bags. Roy's landlady forces him to have sex with her (we just see the aftermath, with Roy throwing up from disgust); plus a recurring lewd gesture from the landlady that implies oral sex. Beautiful women get fondled on the fanny and on the bosom a lot. A character mistakes a bull for a cow and "milks" it (offscreen). Glimpses of a lapdancer in lingerie, and a hint that a minor character is sexually attracted to farm critters. A fantasy scene puts a homosexual spin on the Woody Harrelson adultery drama Indecent Proposal.
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Lots of the s-word; "SOB," "hell," "asshole," "t-ts."
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Products & Purchases
ESPN, bowling-related products and services (the PBA bowling association, in fact, backed this film as a way to make bowling more appealing to the young), beer companies, and a major-name condom manufacturer.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plenty of smoking and drinking jokes; Roy claims to have been "liquored up for 17 years." A joke about glue-sniffing.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that one video release of this was re-rated R by the MPAA. Even the PG-13 edition is exceptionally ribald (think the Austin Powers series, though with gags executed on a somewhat smarter level). Sex jokes abound, some as explicit as women's breasts groped, others requiring more thinking-through (and potential explaining to kids). Plenty of swearing happens as well, plus drinking and gambling (sports betting especially). Many jokes touch on the religious-based life of Amish sects, and while they are rarely mean-spirited attacks (the Amish are the nicest characters in the ensemble) they do tend to prop up stereotypical views. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
KINGPIN is the Farrelly Brothers at their more inventive, with sneaky, imaginative, and beautifully timed gags. If you want gross-out humor, this is the brand that works best because it usually (not always) just hints at the extreme stuff, rather than showing too much (although Harrelson's vomiting scenes do tend to go a little far). The gradual corruption of the unworldly Amish "lad" (the burly Quaid is anything but boyish, yet acts the part of a naive innocent beautifully) is hysterical, yet refrains from being actually offensive, since he remains a fundamentally decent person throughout, and his Bible-centered lifestyle (or at least the naivete borne out of it) works a change in the morality of the impious characters of Roy and "whore" Claudia.
Bill Murray's sleazoid villain is a real scene-stealer, and the finale neatly reverses what viewers have come to expect from an "underdog" sports-flick ending, even in goofball comedies like Dodgeball. The longer-than-typical running time for a comedy might make some viewers restless, if they aren't as caught up in the craziness.
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Our Editors Recommend
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