Dvd Review: Blackballed: the Bobby Dukes Story
No transfats or spoilers!
Rob Corddry steps into his first starring role in this picture and he really shines with the all the attention. In this fictional documentary, Corddry plays Bobby Dukes, a former champion paintball player who was served a ten year suspension for “wiping” (wiping paint off one’s jersey during play), who returns to the game yearning to recapture some of his former glory.
Brant Sersen, the director, takes on this mainstream comedy with hilarious results. Most of the humour in the film comes from awkward silences and general weirdness so it doesn’t exhume belly laughs, but from time to time they come through. With a cast of eccentric friends and silly rivals, this movie is sure to bring a smile to your face.
The film is shot in a faux documentary style with talking head interviews and shaky handicam shots of the action. Unlike many other sports movies, this one doesn’t get jammed up with secondary plot lines, love interests or anything like that. The scenes move briskly from one to the next and really focus on the character development of Dukes and his team.
Along with Corddry, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle (both from The Daily Show), Paul Scheer, Dannah Feinglass, Curtis Gwinn (all from BurlyTV) and a legion of other sketch-com actors round out the cast. They all play rather human characters with all the minor flaws and subtle (but sometimes not so subtle) sense humour that real people have. The onscreen chemistry is decent with Dukes as the father figure character teaching his team the ins and outs of championship paintball. One problem I found was that the actors break the fourth wall and interact with the camera crew at times to ask to get out the of way or to hold a jacket. It was out of place and it added to the overall absurdity of the film, in the end.
This is a sports flick, so there are a few typical elements: a sport training montage, the coach, in this case Dukes, giving rousing pep talks and the arrogant current champion that shoot his mouth off once too often. Though these are rather elements are rather cliché, in the context of the film they end up being very funny.
I wasn’t expecting this movie to be as entertaining as it is. There aren’t any really big names attached to this film but everyone in the cast put out great performances. I would have liked a bit more adversity for Dukes and his paintball team but the story was strong none the less. I didn’t notice this one in theatres but Blockbuster has it for rental now. It’s got a lot of heart and plenty of balls, Blackballed gets a 7.5/10 or three and a half stars out of five.