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Review: 'Blackballed' is a mediocre mockumentary

Posted Wednesday, July 26, 2006 at 4:25 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

Mock documentaries (or "mockumentaries") in the style of This is Spinal Tap are not for everyone. I know people who think they are hilarious while others think they are the most stupid films ever made.

Mockumentaries are just like any other movie genre, I say. They can be good, like in the case of TV's Reno 911 and Curb Your Enthusiasm. They can also be great. Just watch any of the movies from Christopher Guest and gang like Spinal Tap and Waiting for Guffman.

They can also be just so-so, like in the case of the new DVD Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story.

Bobby Dukes was the Michael Jordan of paintball. A player so skilled he stood head and shoulders above the competition. That is, until he was quite committing the cardinal sin of paintball -- wiping.

In the big game, as the captain of the River Rats, he was shot with a paint pellet. Rather than concede defeat, he wiped the paint from his clothes and pretended it didn't happen. The officials knew otherwise and banned Bobby from the sport for 10 years. This is the story of his return to paintball a decade later.

Rob Corddry of "The Daily Show" stars as Dukes. Rob Riggle, Paul Scheer, and Dannah Feinglass are the few who still look up to him as a god and are a part of his ragtag team.

Mockumentaries are usually best when they satirize a character or group of people who take themselves too seriously. Think of the heavy metal world in Spinal Tap or the show dog owners of Best In Show. The weekend warriors of paintball are certainly a worthy target but the execution doesn't always match the strength of the concept.

There are some really funny moments however some characters, namely the geeky Lenny Pear (Scheer), the gunshy Showtime (Curtis Gwinn) and Bobby's ex-girlfriend Jill (Jamie Denbo), just bring the story down.

It seems the greatest letdown was the character of Bobby Dukes. He just wasn't interesting or appealing enough. I usually like Corddry's appearances on "The Daily Show," but here he was just kind of... blah.

On the other hand, the hardcore Eddie (Riggle) and Bobby's sister Erika (Feinglass) provide a ton of laughs. I wanted to see more of D.J. Hazard as the Sergeant Slaughter-like Bill. The kooky Adams brothers (played by real-life brothers Owen and Brendan Burke) made me howl during their too-short appearance.

I do recommend this film to aficionados of mockumentaries -- there are some really funny scenes. But otherwise, I'd explore some of the better movies in the genre before getting to this one. Recommendation: Rent It