The Ringer Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Brian Cox, Johnny Knoxville, Jed Rees, Bill Chott
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: June 3, 2014
  • Run Time: 95 minutes


            I never thought that I would say that a Johnny Knoxville movie is too sensitive for its own good, but that is most certainly the case with The Ringer. Despite the brazen storyline of a man pretending to be mentally handicapped in order to fix the Special Olympics and the fact that Knoxville was coming off of his success with the shock humor of “Jackass,” The Ringer is nearly entirely all good-natured humor. Trim a little bit more and I’m willing to bet they could have moved this soft PG-13 down to a PG.


            Of course, this is not necessarily a condemnation of the film. Sure, it lacks the edge that you might expect to find, but in replacement is a surprisingly respectful use of actual handicapped actors in large roles. This casting alone seems to have shifted the focus of a film which seems to have started with nothing more than a shockingly offensive premise. In the end, despite hesitations by the studio execs which led to delays in production and release, the film was giving a blessing by the Special Olympics. It took seven years for this film to get made and they very clearly watered it down many times along the process.


            The main justification given to Steve Barker (Knoxville) when he is convinced to cheat his way into the Special Olympics by his sleazy uncle (Brian Cox) is his need to earn quick money in order to pay for his gardener’s medical bills. This is all set-up in a highly contrived and unlikely opening segment of the film. Like much of the film’s narrative, suspension of disbelief is the only way to navigate past the many plot holes in this opening. The real moments that make this film worthwhile come from Steve’s unsuccessful efforts at integrating himself with actual competitors of the Special Olympics. Less believable and more predictable is the romantic relationship that Steve develops with one of the volunteers (Katherine Heigl).


            The Blu-ray release includes a commentary track with Knoxville and the many creative minds that contributed to the lukewarm entertainment. The extras also include 16 deleted scenes and a making of featurette.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  5/10

    Special Features: 7/10

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