The latest fearless comedy from producers The Farrelly Brothers (THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, DUMB & DUMBER, SHALLOW HAL) asks the question: can a comedy be outlandishly off-the-wall, irreverently indelicate and yet...inspirational? THE RINGER spikes the uproarious with the uplifting in a story about an ordinary man who discovers what it truly means to be special when he attempts to "fix" Special Olympics.
Steve Barker (JOHNNY KNOXVILLE) is a nice guy stuck in a mundane desk job when a twist of fate turns his life - and his definition of success - utterly upside down. When Steve works up the courage to ask his boss for a promotion, his wish is surprisingly granted, with one condition: Steve must first fire Stavi (LUIS AVALOS), the long-time janitor at the company. To soften the blow, Steve offers to employ the distraught janitor himself, a decision that quickly backfires when a lawn-care accident lands Stavi in the hospital missing several fingers not to mention medical insurance.
Desperate for the cash to save Stavi's digits, Steve enlists the help of his smarmy uncle Gary (BRIAN COX), who's worried about his own skyrocketing gambling debts. In typical fashion, Gary comes up with an unthinkable, contemptible, lower-than-low scheme just crazy enough to seem doable: former track star Steve will compete in the upcoming Special Olympics as a "ringer," handily defeating the greatest champion of all time, six-time Gold Medal pentathlete Jimmy (LEONARD FLOWERS), whom Gary will bet against.
Racked with remorse over Stavi, Steve begrudgingly goes along with the scandalous plan and transforms himself into "Jeffy," his new alter-ego. But succeeding at being intellectually challenged turns out to be a far greater challenge than Steve ever imagined. From convincing Special Olympics volunteer Lynn Sheridan (KATHERINE HEIGL), with whom Steve is smitten; to trying to win the friendship of his feisty fellow competitors, Steve is stumped, not to mention not nearly good enough to win any of his events.
To make matters worse, Steve's co-competitors soon get wise to his scam. But instead of turning against him they decide to join him and train Steve as a competitor themselves, hoping he can topple the arrogant Jimmy from the podium. With a training regimen unlike anything ever seen in sports before, Steve prepares to go for the Gold for his new friends and, in the process, stumbles at long last upon his personal best.
Tackling taboos and challenging stereotypes while revealing real human courage at Special Olympics, THE RINGER's comedic cast, led by Johnny Knoxville (THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, JACKASS) also includes Brian Cox (TROY, ADAPTATION), Katherine Heigl ("Grey's Anatomy," "Roswell"), Geoffrey Arend (SUPER TROOPERS, GARDEN STATE), Edward Barbanell, Bill Chott (DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR?, GALAXY QUEST), Leonard Flowers, Leonard Earl Howze (BARBERSHOP, ANTWONE FISHER), Jed Rees (GALAXY QUEST, MEN WITH BROOMS), John Taylor (THE SEVENTH SIGN, ANIMALS), Luis Avalos (HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE, LOVE STINKS) and Zen Gesner (FEVER PITCH, DUMB & DUMBER).
THE RINGER is directed by Barry W. Blaustein (screenwriter of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR and COMING TO AMERICA) whose feature directorial debut, the wrestling documentary BEYOND THE MAT, was nominated for a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Documentary. The film's screenplay is written by television veteran Ricky Blitt ("Family Guy," "Brotherly Love," "The Jeff Foxworthy Show").
The producers are Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Bradley Thomas and John Jacobs (MY BOSS'S DAUGHTER, ANGER MANAGEMENT). Marc S. Fisher (THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, STUCK ON YOU) and Clemens Franek (in his feature debut) and Garret Grant co-produce, and Tim Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics, executive produces.
The film's behind-the-camera talent includes Director of Photography Mark Irwin, ASC, CSC (SCARY MOVIE 3, OLD SCHOOL), production designer Arlan Jay Vetter , who has been a long-time Farrelly collaborator (THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, KINGPIN and DUMB & DUMBER), Film Editor George Folsey Jr. (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, THE BLUES BROTHERS), Composer Mark Mothersbaugh (LORDS OF DOGTOWN, THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU), Music Supervisors Tom Wolfe (NEO NED) & Manish Raval (FEVER PITCH, STUCK ON YOU) costume designer Lisa Jensen (DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR, SAY IT ISN'T SO) and Casting by Nancy Fox, CSA (MISS CONGENIALTY 2: ARMED AND FABULOUS, LADDER 49).
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