If there's such a thing as a classic bowling motion picture, I suppose the default choice at this point is the Farrelly Brothers' 1996 slapstick fantasia, "Kingpin." Maybe "There Will Be Blood" if pin monkey definitions are allowed some slack. "Strike" is excited to challenge the champ, mixing standard issue bowling tomfoolery with abundant sex, weed, and gross-out jokes into a ball of utter no-budget idiocy. The icing on this rotten bottom-shelf cake? "Strike" was directed by Tara Reid's kid brother, Tommy. Now there are two Reids running around Hollywood to worry about.
Trying to make it as an actor in L.A., Ross Vegas (Ross Patterson) is trapped in a lowly pizza delivery job with pal Mike (Clayne Crawford). To wash away their professional blues, the boys hit the bowling alley for a distraction, with Ross's considerable skill attracting the attention of a PBA recruiter (Ray Wise). Offered substantial money to join the tour, Ross is pushed to sharpen his bowling skills in a hurry, traveling cross-country to face numerous opponents of specialized style (including Rachel Hunter, David Carradine, and Vinnie Jones), working his way to challenge the top bowler, Jerry Lowry (Rob Huebel). Clad in a rowdy '70's inspired outfit and armed with his trusted girlfriend/partner Lindsay (Tara Reid), Ross hits the top of the sport, only to find his inflated ego swallowing his humanity.
"Strike" is an appalling attempt at a raunchy, sport-flavored comedy, but to lay the singular blame on Tommy Reid for this disgraceful nonsense seems uncalled for. Star Ross Patterson actually banged out the screenplay for the picture, scribbling himself a juicy starring role to showcase his ease with comedy and ability to serve up a wide range of rubbery facial reactions. Trouble is, Patterson is as talentless an actor as Hollywood is capable of breeding.
The single defining characteristic of "Strike" is Ross Vegas's unrestrained sense of smarm. It's a character intended to embody a classic smart-ass archetype; a youngster chock full of sass with the world as his brick-backed stage. Patterson imagines himself a student from the Vince Vaughn school of effortless cool, but the actual thespian effort onscreen is unreasonably toxic. It's an unspeakably atrocious performance of pure misguided assumption - the assumption being that this constant display of unbridled camera mugging from Patterson will somehow register to the viewer as the birth of Jim Carrey Jr.
To complete this review, I had to sit through the entirety of "Strike." You, my dear readers, have the option of an eject button. I assure you all, just 90 seconds of Patterson screaming his lines at the camera will have you lunging for the DVD remote. Further cruelty is inflicted by Crawford, who feels the need to match Patterson screech for screech.
If Patterson is a horrific actor, he's an even worse scenarist, if possible. Working with strict screenwriting 101 guidelines, Patterson fashions a plot that's excruciatingly predictable, tracing the rise and fall of Ross Vegas by sucking dry every screen cliché imaginable. Hoping for terrific bowling footage to salvage this stinker? Find another movie. Director Reid is crippled by a lack of production coin, tarting up the waxed lane action with flashes of animation and slick editing, but he remains incapable of convincingly selling the single bowling alley location allotted for filming as many. Even a co-starring role from John Di Maggio (better known as the voice of Bender on "Futurama") as the PBA announcer is a disaster, leaving the picture hopeless all around.
The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio) image quality on the "Strike" DVD keeps a modest profile, due in part to the picture's low budget and general ragtag appearance. The neon bowling alley colors seem well preserved during sporting sequences, yet the black levels register as far too inky to contain sufficient detail. Outdoor sequences fare much better, allowing the image to find solid visual elements to work with.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound mix endeavors to keep the viewer engaged with a rowdy, if tinny, surround track of audience participation and soundtrack cuts. Dialogue is undisturbed, and the bowling scenes have a nice bass-heavy crash when the balls drop into the action.
English SDH subtitles are included.
"Behind the Scenes of 'Strike'" (4:44) is a near-speechless BTS featurette, mixing random on-set footage with clips from the film. It's an atmosphere piece, grabbing a small bite of life with the production.
A Trailer for the film has not been included.
To make it all the way through "Strike" I'm thinking one has to either a) be an unrepentant sucker for the worst DTV trash imaginable or b) possess some relation to Ross Patterson. Within the first six minutes of the film there are two fart jokes, and the best actor of the picture? Tara Reid. Consider yourself fully warned.
For further online adventure, please visit brianorndorf.com