DVD Release Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010
It takes less than 10 minutes for “Knucklehead” to uncork its first fart joke. That more or less gives viewers the gist of the kind of comedy this film is going to present. The “joke,” such as it is, involves WWE Superstar the Big Show farting very loudly. Because he’s big, you see.
Show stars as Walter Krunk, a thirty-five-year-old, seven-foot, four-hundred-pound man who lives at an orphanage because no one would adopt a kid who was 6’7” and 295 pounds by the time he was a teenager. When I think about that, it doesn’t make me laugh, it makes me sad. Director Michael W. Watkins and the trio of writers responsible for this movie somehow saw this as a comedic situation. Although that shouldn’t surprise anyone once they get to the scene where a story about a ruptured testicle is played for laughs.
The other star is Mark Feuerstein (from USA Network’s “Royal Pains”), as former MMA fighter Eddie Sullivan, who has been reduced to small-time hustling as a coach. Eddie owes lots of money to Memphis Earl (the late great Dennis Farina, who deserved better) and is trying to figure out how to get it.
Meanwhile, the orphanage where Walter lives sustains great damage and has only 10 days to come up with the money to make necessary repairs. The story kicks in when Eddie visits the church connected to the orphanage to ask God to do him a solid, and he discovers Walter. Eddie sees Walter’s size and immediately thinks dollar signs. Walter professes himself as a “gentle giant,” but agrees to let Eddie train him because he can win enough money to save the orphanage.
This is a similar plot to the 1996 comedic masterpiece “Kingpin,” but that’s where the similarities end. “Knucklehead” skimps completely on cleverness, instead stooping to the lowest common denominator at every opportunity. The script tacks on two female characters: Sister Francesca (Wendie Malick), and Mary (Melora Hardin), both of whom exist only to fit basic screenplay archetypes. Both Malick and Hardin have been funny elsewhere, but “Knucklehead” doesn’t really suit their skills. Will Patton and Bobb’e J. Thompson are similarly misused here.
As for the Big Show, he certainly tries hard and the failings of the movie should hardly fall on his massive shoulders.