Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story Movie Review
Rob Corddry, he of the tuft of hair on an otherwise bald forehead, is that somebody, one Bobby Dukes, a former hero in the sport, well, the "sport," of competitive paintball. Dukes washed out of the sport 10 years ago after getting caught "wiping," wiping a paint marker off his clothes and lying that he wasn't hit. But he was busted for cheating and run out of the game, the greatest ever banned from his own sport.
Cut to the present, and Dukes is back in action, looking to jump back in the game. See if you can figure out where this goes next. Does Bobby: a) recruit a group of oddball characters for his team, b) undergo mock Rocky-esque training, c) confront old enemies, d) lead the team to victory, or e) all of the above? You're pretty bright, eh?
Unfortunately, director Brant Sersen is no Christopher Guest, and Blackballed fails to be funny beyond a few throwaway jokes. (The best line in the film is repurposed as the film's tagline: "Second place is first place for losers!") But take the movie's cookie-cutter "plot," and add in cliched characters and largely threadbare dialogue, and you've pretty much got a recipe for direct-to-video.
Maybe the problem is the setting. Good mockumentaries have been made about everything from dog shows to independent filmmaking, and the directors know to set every single aspect up for maximum comedy. Paintball could be funny -- the whole idea of it is ridiculous, after all -- but Sersen does nothing with it. The cheeseball field where the game is played (and this is of course a huge championship played on this ghetto playground) could have been a mine of comedy gold. Characters run together with no defining characteristics among them.
Then there's Corddry, who exudes smarminess and cynicism in his usual role, but here he's asked to play some kind of Mr. Miyagi-style super-athlete who can lead a gang of misfits to the top. It doesn't work, and Corddry knows it, but at least he gives it his all.
Sadly, that's not enough to make Blackballed worth watching for more than a couple of giggles.
The DVD includes two commentary tracks, a featurette, deleted scenes, and outtakes.