Tetherball is one of those movies that you could easily dismiss as just another dumb sex comedy by reading the synopsis; a group of slackers become tetherball stars and as a result they’re up to their nuts in beer, babes and boobies, and to an extent it is just that. It never tries to be anything else than a mindless good time; a movie to stick on when you’re inebriated with friends is what it’s perfect for. But don’t write it off just yet, because it’s more than that: while containing all the typical dick gags and frat humour you’ll expect, it also manages to create a few unexpected laughs out of nowhere that take you by surprise, as well as riff on the sports world to create some hilarious satire. Although not quite the ingenious masterpiece Baseketball is (nothing is for me though, that movie is in my all time top 10), it does provide a worthy companion piece to it. If Baseketball is the daddy of sports satire, Tetherball is its delinquent the son; still in college, impregnating women and living with alcoholism, but it still has his daddy’s genes and wit. Mark my words, Tetherball is a funny movie, if you’re a fan of slacker, sex and sports comedies. If the guys from Porky’s were amazing backyard athletes, then they’d fit right in with the Tetherball guys. It reminded me of a good 80’s sex comedy; not only are all the characters womanizing drunks, but even the fat guys get laid with ease. In most modern sex comedies Chubby has to work for it, and if some unfortunate women is feeling pitiful, he might just score.
The cast features some known names too; Ron Jeremy plays the sleazy man of power to demands sexual treats in exchange for granting wealth and fame for a start. Although it’s not hard to hire Ron Jeremy, he’s always a lot of fun and here he plays one of his better roles in awhile, up there with Bloody Bloody Bible Camp and One Eyed Monster. Dustin Diamond, who we all know as Screech from Saved By The Bell also gets a good portion of screen time as the down-on-his-luck coach with more casualties under his supervision than success stories. Lastly, Lloyd Kauffman lends his voice as a commentator; always a pleasant voice to hear, but let’s hope he didn’t stiff these guys for money. Cameos aside, it’s the cast of unknowns who steal the show – Rick Dawson, Brian Titus, Rob Fender, and Jon Alderman – and they all demonstrate natural comedic chops that could see them go places, together and apart.
14 year old me would have loved this movie, but 25 year old me still really enjoyed it and laughed regularly from beginning ’til end. If you can find it anywhere, check it out (it’s available on Amazon and other VOD outlets). It’s much funnier than any typical dumbfounded assumption would ever give it credit for, and you might just find yourself pleasantly surprised. Comedies are supposed to make us laugh and Tetherball provides more laughs than you’d get having your nutsack tickled by a clown falling down some stairs. 7/10
Rick Dawson, Brian Fender, Brian Titus, Ron Jeremy