Harrelson's Roy Munson, the 1979 Odor Eaters Ten-Pin Bowling Champion, has been 17 years on the skids, paying off the bubo-encrusted landlady of his verminous flophouse with vomit-inducing bouts of sex. If he's lucky. Only with the arrival of fright-wigged con artist Ernie McCracken (Murray, gleefully camp) do things look up, McCracken teaching him to make money hustling ten-pin, until he's abandoned to a bunch of rednecks who twig to him and slash off his bowling hand. Undaunted, he happens upon Quaid's Ishmael Boorg, an ingenuous Amish and fellow bowling natural, and they take off for the National Championships in Reno, pausing only to pick up mini-skirted 'personal companion' Claudia (Angel). There's something arresting in the sheer commitment the Farrelly brothers bring to the naff gags, pratfalls and ritual humiliations these three go through. More beguiling still is their warts-and-all depiction of low life, so upfront it ends up quite affectionate; equally, the keen observations quash charges of cynicism. Dumbfounding.
Cast and crew
Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Barry Fanaro, Mort Nathan
Woody Harrelson Randy Quaid Vanessa Angel Bill Murray Chris Elliott William Jordan Lin Shaye