Balls Out

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  • R
  • 2015
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 4.3  (1,586)
  • 58

In the hectic world of college intramural football, some players just take things a little too seriously. In "Balls Out," a 2014 comedy directed by Andrew Disney, we meet Caleb Fuller (Jake Lacy), a newly minted graduate who heads to the small, Ohio-based college he once attended to coach their intramural football team. Caleb is a fish out of water in this setting, both because of his Ivy League pedigree and his lack of football know-how. But he's determined to make it work.

The team Caleb inherits is the Panthers, a ragtag bunch of misfits who are tired of getting steamrolled by their rivals. The Panthers haven't won a game in years, and they don't seem to have much of a fighting spirit. But Caleb senses untapped potential in the group, and he sets out to whip them into shape. He starts with the team's captain, Grant (Nick Kocher), a laidback stoner who has never shown much interest in winning. Caleb convinces Grant to step up and lead by example, and soon the rest of the team is rallying around him.

As the Panthers start to practice in earnest, they attract some new talent who had previously been too intimidated to join. Among them is Meredith (Kate McKinnon), a high-strung ex-cheerleader whose aggressive sideline antics make her a polarizing figure. But she knows her football, and Caleb quickly identifies her as an asset to the team. We also meet a number of other colorful characters, including Caleb's old flame, Vicky (Nikki Reed), who is now dating the star of the rival team, and a pair of oddball outsiders who join up with the Panthers due to their mutual love of Renaissance fairs.

As the team starts to gel, their fortunes begin to turn around. They start winning games and gaining confidence. But they're not without their challenges. The Panthers' rise to the top of the intramural football league is held back by a conspiracy led by the league's commissioner, played by Beck Bennett. The commissioner believes that the game should be played in a certain, traditional way, and he'll do whatever it takes to make sure the Panthers don't disrupt the status quo. But Caleb and his team aren't willing to let the commissioner's narrow-mindedness stop them from achieving greatness.

Throughout the film, we see the Panthers' progress in montages that are set to upbeat music and filled with slapstick humor. But "Balls Out" also delves into the personal lives of its characters. We get to know Caleb and Vicky's complicated history, as well as Meredith's insecurities and Grant's newfound sense of responsibility. Despite the silliness of the premise, the movie has a heart and a soul.

One of the film's biggest strengths is its cast. Jake Lacy is charming as Caleb, nailing the character's earnestness and idealism without making him seem naive. Kate McKinnon is hilarious as the team's resident nutjob, mixing intensity and absurdity in just the right proportions. And Nikki Reed brings a surprising depth to Vicky, making the character more than just a throwaway love interest.

But it's the supporting cast that really brings the movie to life. Nick Kocher is wonderful as Grant, going from a slacker to a leader with aplomb. Jay Pharoah is a standout as a football-obsessed student who serves as the team's equipment manager. And Beck Bennett adds just the right amount of villainy as the smug commissioner.

"Balls Out" is a film that revels in its absurdity without losing sight of the fact that its characters are real people with real emotions. It has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but it also has a surprising amount of heart. The movie's message is simple but potent: never underestimate the power of a group of misfits who are determined to achieve something great. It's a tale that's been told before, but "Balls Out" manages to put a fresh, irreverent spin on it. If you're looking for a sports movie that's as funny as it is heartwarming, look no further than "Balls Out."

Balls Out is a 2015 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.3 and a MetaScore of 58.

Balls Out
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.3  (1,586)
  • Metascore