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Down Syndrome Group And Special Olympics Say "The Ringer" Is "A Winner"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 8, 2005

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--The National Down Syndrome Society and the Special Olympics are both encouraging audiences to see the upcoming film "The Ringer", which is scheduled to open on Christmas Eve.

According to the movie's official website, the film is about two men who decide to pay off a debt by having one of them pose as an athlete with an intellectual disability in order to "rig" the Special Olympics.

The comedy was produced by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, who directed "Shallow Hal" and "There's Something About Mary".

While the trailer suggests that the movie is filled with political incorrectness, including the frequent use of the words "moron", "idiot", "feeb" and "retard", NDSS said in a press release that the main character, played by actor Johnny Knoxville, learns, "as will moviegoers, that people with intellectual disabilities are more like the rest of us than they are different."

"Instead of tugging at the heartstrings, 'The Ringer' uses the typical outrageous Farrelly Brothers humor to promote the message that just like everyone else, individuals with intellectual disabilities are people first, each with their own interests, talents, abilities, and personalities."

Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver told the Associated Press: "The risk was that it would further the stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities as the brunt of jokes rather than the teller of jokes. But the payoff was even more valuable."

Shriver is also listed as the executive producer of "The Ringer".

Peter Farrelly has been a longtime volunteer with Best Buddies, a mentoring program for people with intellectual disabilities. He was on hand for the 2000 Special Olympics World Games in Alaska, and thought he could make a movie to show that people with intellectual disabilities can be complex and do have fun, just like everyone else.

"These stories are usually tearjerkers and there's no need for it," Farrelly told the AP.

Like the 2001 film "I am Sam", this movie features actors and others with intellectual disabilities in small parts and supporting roles -- over 150 in all.

NDSS calls the movie "a great vehicle for promoting acceptance and inclusion" and is encouraging families and groups to attend the movie on opening weekend and to invite others to do so.

Related:
"Farrelly Brothers Take on Special Olympics" (Associated Press via ABC News)

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/print?id=1386805
Invitation to "The Ringer" (National Down Syndrome Association)
http://www.ndss.org/media/pdf/ringer.pdf
Official Website "The Ringer" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/theringer
Best Buddies International
http://www.bestbuddies.org

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