Six or so months ago, the Mercury published a brief tirade of mine—timed to correspond with the then-impending release of Reno 911!: Miami—entitled "The Lennon/Garant Walk of Shame." Its contents recounted an array of terrible films (Herbie: Fully Loaded, Night At The Museum, etc.) whose final drafts had been quietly credited to the writing team of Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant—formers of beloved sketch comedy troupe The State, and creators of Reno 911!.
The day the article hit the streets, I received a surprise email from Thomas Lennon. Lennon wasn't exactly writing to rip me the new one he was easily capable of—just to calmly explain that "writing movies for the studios is a complicated business." He seemed bummed. I felt bad. Not because I said anything that I didn't mean, but because I hadn't exactly said what I meant: that my ire for these films was largely based in a disappointment rooted in a former esteem for Lennon and Garant's work—work seemingly so removed from how they now make a living. And so, for the first time ever, I apologized for being an asshole to someone I had written about. And he was nice about it.
So it's understandable why I'd approach the latest Lennon/Garant opus, Balls Of Fury, with kid gloves. A ping-pong comedy with a genital pun for a title? A no-name protagonist (Dan Fogler) who manages to be both unlikable and heroically unfunny? A squandered Christopher Walken guest-spot? There's got to be something nice to say about this movie, hasn't there? But as much as I would like to be charitable, the only thing Balls' 90 laugh-less minutes really has going for it is it's merciful brevity.
Oh, and Thomas, in case you're reading this: I'm truly sorry I didn't like anything about this one either. It's nothing personal, I promise.