To promote its “Thanksgiving Showdown” hockey broadcast between the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins, NBC Sports Network is making use of a talented movie director who knows a thing or two about slapstick.
Bobby Farrelly, one half of the famous Farrelly Brothers duo behind such humorous modern-day classics as “There’s Something About Mary” and “Dumb and Dumber,” agreed to helm a new series of promos set to debut this evening on NBCSN to draw attention to the Friday, November 29th hockey contest.
The spots, which feature former Bruin Cam Neely and former Ranger Mike Richter, show NBCSN attempting to top a similar outing last year. The network’s inaugural “Wednesday Night Rivalry” game between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers is the most watched regular-season game ever on NBCSN. And given last season’s lockout, anything the network and the NHL can do to burnish the sport to a broader crowd is no doubt welcome.
Farrelly said he had talked to the network about doing something similar in the past, but the circumstances weren’t right. This time, however, his love of the Bruins and the sport spurred him on.
“I don’t really do many commercials, but I love hockey,” said Farrelly, calling from Atlanta, where he shooting the sequel to “Dumb and Dumber,:” known as “Dumb and Dumber To,” which looks at characters played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels 20 years after the original. “It’s going great. We’re probably about halfway through the shoot and the two guys have picked up right where they left off,” said Farrelly. “We should have the movie out at the beginning of this coming summer.”
The promo shows a Boston family that loves the Bruins beset each year with a tough problem: a group of New York cousins who love the Rangers and challenge them to a mean game of street hockey. Neely and Richter join the contest in one promo and, in another, attempt to make peace between the two factions by offering Boston cream pie and New York cheesecake, which only serves to infuriate everyone further.
Farrelly said he grew up next to a pond and loved to play street hockey as a kid, something he continued to do through high school. After dropping the sport, he has found new love for it as an adult, getting “back in the pads” and playing “beer league” games with pals.
Neely and Richter said playing up rivalries seems like a good way to call attention to the games, because the tensions that come to the surface during such a scenario are authentic. “We were just throwing barbs at each other – things you say to any one of your friends,” said Richter. “It wasn’t hard to quickly come up with spirited comments about Boston and, for sure, Cam Neely had plenty to say about New York.”