Providing the latest sign that the goofball sports comedy boom has started to ebb is Balls of Fury, the stale and derivative offering from Reno 911! collaborators Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant. Tony award winner Dan Fogler (Fanboys) stars as Randy Daytona, a former teenage ping-pong phenom whose life falls apart after a disastrous flameout in the 1988 Olympics. Down and out and making a meager living as a small-time Vegas lounge act, Daytona is recruited by an FBI agent (George Lopez) to infiltrate an underground ping-pong tournament held annually by a wealthy, eccentric crime boss named Feng (Christopher Walken).
If you spotted a little of Enter the Dragon in the plot description, give yourself a cookie. Indeed, as if sports comedies weren't becoming played out enough, Balls of Fury decides to parody Kung-Fu movies as well, because it's not like that's ever been done before.
The most painful parts of the movie, however, belong to Mr. Walken. The Deer Hunter Oscar winner long ago lapsed into self-parody; he now appears to be progressing beyond that stage into some other world entirely. His performance as the main villain in Balls of Fury could very well be a parody of his previous self-parodying roles. I'd explore the issue further, but just thinking about it the infinite loop of irony gives me a headache.
Years from now, when film historians look back on the recent era of sports comedies, last year's stellar Blades of Glory may well be looked upon as its last gasp, the final burst of creativity before the entire genre imploded and collapsed upon itself.
Oh well; it was funny while it lasted.