Director Bobby Farrelly is re-teaming with his old “Kingpin” star, Woody Harrelson, for “Champions,” a new comedy about a guy who becomes the court-ordered coach for a team of basketball players with intellectual disabilities.
In addition to “Kingpin,” Farrelly, as one-half of the Farrelly brothers, co-wrote and/or co-directed such films as “Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” and “Shallow Hal.” Since the sequel “Dumb and Dumber To” in 2014, he and his brother have embarked on separate directorial paths, with Peter Farrelly helming “Green Book” and, more recently, “The Greatest Beer Run Ever.”
For his part, not counting various TV projects, Bobby Farrelly is making his solo directorial debut with “Champions.” The movie is billed as a “hilarious and heartwarming story,” and it’s tough to know, just based on the two-minute trailer below, whether it has its heart in the right place and is meant to be a step forward in terms of representation for the intellectually disabled, or whether it’s just using them in a misguided attempt at humor that could be construed as punching down. Maybe two things can be true?
I’ll leave that decision to others more qualified than me. But if the premise of ‘Champions,” in a Farrelly brother’s hands, sounds like a recipe for disaster (and/or copious think pieces), you can judge for yourself how much of one it will or won’t be courtesy of this trailer.
Watch The Trailer For Champions
I’m not sure what to make of this trailer. Everything from the premise to the style of humor, the way it prominently features Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” — a one-hit wonder instantly recognizable for its “I get knocked down” chorus — makes this movie seem like something out of the 1990s when movies like “Cool Runnings” and Farrelly’s own early box-office hits were in theaters. Though a flick like that might stand a chance of sinking outright into streaming obscurity now, Focus Features is making a bid for relevance with “Champions” as a film that can be seen “only in theaters.”
Looking back at Farrelly and his brother’s oeuvre, the aforementioned “Green Book” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, though it was no stranger to controversy. The movie competed against “Black Panther” and Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” and some questioned whether a white director like Peter Farrelly was the right person to (if you’ll pardon the driving pun) steer a film where the subject matter related to the Black experience.
I can see the same conversation happening with Bobby Farrelly, “Champions,” and people with intellectual disabilities.
Written by Mark Rizzo, “Champions” costars Kaitlin Olson, Ernie Hudson, Cheech Marin, and Matt Cook. Here’s the official synopsis via Focus Features:
Woody Harrelson stars in the hilarious and heartwarming story of a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.
“Champions” is coming exclusively to theaters on Friday, March 24, 2023.
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The post Champions Trailer: Woody Harrelson Coaches a Team of Basketball Players With Intellectual Disabilities appeared first on /Film.
Source: Slash Film