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Shout Factory presents
Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story (2004)

"I mean I'm nervous. I've made a lot of enemies, you know."
- Bobby Dukes (Rob Corddry)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: July 27, 2006

Stars: Rob Corddry
Other Stars: Paul Scheer, Dannah Feinglass, Rob Riggle, Curtis Gwinn, Seth Morris, Rob Huebel, Ed Helms
Director: Brant Sersen

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult language)
Run Time: 01h:31m:19s
Release Date: July 25, 2006
UPC: 826663100792
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A A+C-C+ A

DVD Review

When The Daily Show is mentioned, the focus is usually on its host, Jon Stewart. However, this hit show is proving to be a launching pad for the careers of its fake correspondents. Louis Black is enjoying a lucrative stand-up career, while Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert have reached their own star status. The latest reporter about to take off is Rob Corddry, due to his dry wit and straight-faced delivery. In the midst of taking over the top reporter spot in 2004, Corddry took part in the mega-low-budget mockumentary, Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, and the world would never look at the "sport" of paintball the same way again.

Bobby Dukes (Corddry) is a legendary paintball champion that is best known for his "wiping" tendencies. This form of cheating occurs when a player wipes a kill shot of paint off their uniform, and after Bobby employs it during a championship match, he disappears. A decade later, he's back to redeem himself by assembling a team of misfits to compete in this year's regional tournament: Lenny Pear (Paul Scheer,) a dorky paintball referee; gung ho and crazy Eddie Reynolds (Rob Riggle); a timid video game expert, Showtime (Curtis Gwynn); Canadian import Crosby Peters (Seth Morris); and Bobby's sister, Erika (Dannah Feinglass). Bobby's group has a tall order, as they not only have to win the tournament and overcome his cheating stigma, but go through his arch rival, Sam Brown (Rob Huebel), to get there.

After sifting through comedy on DVD for half of 2006, Blackballed is the comedic discovery of the year. Taking a page from Christopher Guest's highly successful book of improvisational mockumentaries, director Brant Sersen (who co-wrote the film with Brian Steinberg) chronicles the inane subject of paintball. It's just this kind of irrelevance that made community theater and dog shows such appealing cinematic subjects, though, and Sersen goes to great lengths to show his audience the intricacies of a paintball match. While he doesn't go as far with mockery as Guest does, Sersen does show the same shameless affection for his subject.

The most amazing part of the film's effectiveness is just how straight Corddry plays Bobby Dukes. We get a much better feel for the seemingly "real" Corddry here, as his stoic demeanor remains despite the wackiness around him. He makes us believe that paintball is Bobby's life, and the game sequences show him diving, flipping, and making a slew of other acrobatic moves to "kill" his next victim. Many comedians could have handled this role, but I doubt many could have pulled off such a mixture of physical comedy, restraint, and realism. The fun is far from limited to Corddry, though, as ex-SNL bit-player Rob Riggle gives a great, over-the-top performance, and Paul Scheer is perfect as his geeky foil. There's really not a bad performance in the film, as you'll have fun both laughing out loud and trying to remember where you've seen these actors before. Some of them have appeared in commercials, and most have shown up in TV sketch comedy, but everyone involved deserves a lucrative film career based on their work here. Daily Show fans are in for another treat, as Ed Helms makes an all-too-brief cameo appearance that seals the deal for the hilarity of this great hidden gem.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: It's a shame that this 1.85:1 widescreen transfer isn't anamorphically enhanced. Even though it was shot on DV and mostly on location, it's a rare occasion that any new film isn't granted the anamorphic treatment these days. The format gives a ton of inherent grain and other print flaws, along with a drab color scheme, but overall, things look very realistic.

Image Transfer Grade: C-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio suits the dialogue-driven material just fine. There's some great music that blends in well with the actors' speech, but the limited dynamic range keeps everything up front.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 14 cues and remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Home Movies, Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series, Undeclared: The Complete Series, SCTV
3 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Cast Commentary with Rob Corddry, Paul Scheer, and Rob Riggle.2. Filmmaker Commentary with Brant Sersen, Brian Steinberg, and Chris Lechler.
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Outtakes
  2. Bobby Dukes' Video Diary
Extras Review: A generous number of extras includes a pair of audio commentary tracks. The first features Rob Corddry, Paul Scheer, and Rob Riggle, and these guys are just as funny as they are in the film. The same amazing chemistry is exhibited as well in their telling of some hilarious anecdotes.

The second has filmmakers Brant Sersen, Brian Steinberg, and Chris Lechler talking about the more technical aspects of such a raw shoot. Sersen, especially has nice things to say about Corddry and the rest of his cast, and this trio doesn't shy away from complimenting each other either.

There are over 12 minutes of outtakes and a trio of deleted scenes, including Riggle at his manic best. While these features are hilarious, the real highlight is the four-minute piece, Bobby Dukes' Video Diary, which has Corddry talking about dealing with his attempts at keeping a straight face on the set, among other things.

Extras Grade: A


Final Comments

Seemingly coming from nowhere, Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, is the first must-see DVD comedy of the year. An incredibly funny mockumentary, this Rob Corddry vehicle is what independent cinema is all about. Shout Factory's disc perseveres despite adequate audio and disappointing video, thanks to a great collection of supplemental material that increase the laugh quotient.


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