When you're a kid, the word "retarded" is one of those placeholders you use until you realize that in the world of grown-ups, it is not polite. It, like the word "gay", is most often used on the playground to indicate, "That [particular thing] represents a period in my life that I have grown beyond as a person, however young." It only has a hateful connotation when a child is taught to be hateful with it. In the world of Peter and Bobby Farrelly, however, it is a word used to challenge that artificial construct that is Political Correctness, to provoke us into taking another look at the definitions by which we live and judge the quality of life of others.

The premise of The Ringer almost automatically prompts cries of bad taste: "Johnny Knoxville plays a guy who pretends to be mentally challenged so that he can compete in and fix the Special Olympics." Perhaps the thought of the Jackass star being the vehicle for heightened understanding is just too unfathomable, especially when crap like The Dukes Of Hazzard has marked his high water mark as a movie star. Maybe we have seen one too many Wayans Brothers routines where the disabled are the focus of ridicule. Whatever our predisposition, the Farrellys, longtime champions of the short-shrifted in movies like There's Something About Mary, Shallow Hal and even the stinker Stuck On You, again maintain that the ones with the handicap are the people who would so quickly and callously dismiss someone based on a mathematical misfortune.