The Farrelly Brothers aren’t known for their compassionate portrayals of those with disabilities, at least not with some of their past comedies, but perhaps things have changed. For sure, Peter Farrelly moved on to direct a Best Picture winner Green Book, which is about as far from Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary that you can get. But what about his brother, Bobby? His last film behind the camera was 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To. That does not inspire a lot of confidence in his solo debut, Champions, a comedy about the Special Olympics.
Potential minefield here.
Focus Features has announced that Bobby Farrelly will direct Champions, and he’ll be joined by a cast led by Woody Harrelson, Kaitlin Olson, Cheech Marin, and Matt Cook. Okay, that’s a pretty good place to start. The film, about a minor league basketball coach who does community service by helping lead a Special Olympics team, will also boast a number of actors with intellectual disabilities, including Madison Tevlin, Joshua Felder, Kevin Iannucci, Ashton Gunning, Matthew Von Der Ahe, Tom Sinclair, James Day Keith, Alex Hintz, Casey Metcalfe, Bradley Edens, and Champ Pederson.
So on the face of it, this could be a chance for Bobby Farrelly to prove he’s moved beyond the sophomoric humor of the past. The film is an English language remake of the 2018 Spanish comedy which won three Goya Awards and was Spain’s highest grosser at the box office that year.