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Kingpin Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Lowest-common-denominator humor.

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  • 38

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    The really disgusting thing about this movie isn't the crude jokes themselves, but how grossly unfunny they all are.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Potty humor to spare. [26 July 1996, p. D4]

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Some of the gags don't work, and yet I laughed at the Farrellys' audacity in trying them. And the humor isn't just gags and punch lines, but one accomplished comic performance after another.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Ribald bowling comedy is vintage Farrelly brothers.

What 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.

  • Families can talk about the ending of the movie -- which goes against the grain of standard rah-rah sports movies about who wins and who loses. Who is indeed the real winner here? Also, a big part of the humor centers around the innocent Amish character meeting bad behavior in the modern world. What other fish-out-of-water comedies can you think of? Are there some that are more family-friendly than this one?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: 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.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Impressionist, non-visual violence as the main character's hand is mutilated. Fistfights and crotch kicks.

  • sex false4

    Sex: 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.

  • language false3

    Language: Lots of the s-word; "SOB," "hell," "asshole," "t-ts."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: 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.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Plenty of smoking and drinking jokes; Roy claims to have been "liquored up for 17 years." A joke about glue-sniffing.