Fingerball | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Fingerball 

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Fingerball, Annoyance Theatre.

James Bond films--with their cheeky double entendres, ridiculously contrived plots, and almost comically outdated sexual stereotypes--would seem a perfect target for Annoyance Theatre's distinctive brand of vulgar comedy and irreverent pop-culture satire. But in Fingerball they miss the mark by a mile. This anemic parody is about as funny as George Lazenby.

Excruciatingly dim-witted and sluggishly paced, this two-hour groanfest plays like a sampling from the reject piles of Mad Magazine and National Lampoon, rarely ever achieving a glimmer of inspiration. Borrowing from the Pink Panther series as well as the Bond oeuvre, Fingerball chronicles deadpan British secret agent Guy Suave's efforts to overcome the evil organization S.A.V.A.L.A.S., which is led by Dr. Hammer, a disfigured, kitten-petting megalomaniac bent on world domination. Apart from a couple of clever throwaway gags, the humor here is either tasteless and dumb (the leader of the British secret service is a stroke victim who can't control his motor reflexes and winds up with hot cereal dribbling down his chin), infantile (Suave first appears with an erect rubber penis attached to his forehead, then dumps a bucket of shit on a foe's head and brags to a companion, "You have a penis; I have a cock"), or just plain boring.

The staging is messy, the pacing flat-footed, and the structure nonexistent. Not once does Fingerball come close to attaining the wit or inventiveness of even the worst of the Bond films (A View to a Kill) or of the lamest of the Bond parodies (Casino Royale). An extreme embarrassment.

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