There are spoilers for the HBO film "7 Days in Hell". Go watch and come back to read Ty's review.
I got around to watching "7 Days in Hell" the other day and it was pretty hilarious.
"7 Days in Hell" is a mockumentary style HBO Sports movie. It stars Andy Samberg as American bad boy tennis pro Aaron Williams and Kit Harrington as the far too wound up, immature English tennis pro Charles Poole. The movie was about the longest tennis match in the history of Wimbledon. The match took seven days, hence the name "7 Days in Hell", with no winner. The path the writers and actors took to get to this match was quite funny. "7 Days in Hell" reminded me a lot of the Will Ferrell and Jon Heder movie "Blades of Glory", except these two pros don't become teammates or friends, they hate each other. They respect each other, but they really do not like each other at all. The movie started by giving Aaron Williams back story, revealing that he was abandoned by his parents, only to be found and adopted by Serena and Venus Williams father. Serena Williams played one of the talking heads in the movie and she was very funny, taking her role very seriously. Aaron Williams learned tennis on the streets of Compton and rose through the ranks all the way up to number two in the world. On the precipice of winning his first Wimbledon Final in 1995, Williams was cruising through the championship, until one of his powerful serves knocked a linesman unconscious and caused him to have a heart attack and die, right there on the court. Will Forte, who played another talking head, writer Sandy Pickard, said that there was a silver lining in the linesman dying, it produced the fastest serve in the history of tennis, clocking in at 175 miles per hour. I found that extremely funny. This death caused Williams to lose the match and he walked away from tennis after shoving the Duke of Kent, played by Howie Mandel.
We next get Charles Poole's back story. When he was a three year old, his mother, played by Mary Steenburgen, pushed him into tennis and forced him to play and practice constantly. In some "home" videos you can clearly hear him say, "I don't like tennis". His mom was undeterred and Poole continued to play tennis against his will and he too, rose the ranks all the way to number two in the world, taking over Williams spot after he disappeared. When Poole was 15, he appeared on a British sports talk show, hosted by Caspian Wint, played fantastically by Michael Sheen, and when asked if there was a better tennis player than him on Earth, Poole replied with a simple, "No".
This seemed to go by without anyone noticing, but in a Swedish prison, where Williams was staying after a failed fashion career and being caught with PCP, saw it on the TV and escaped prison just so he could play Poole in the upcoming Wimbledon. On day one, we learn that all the tennis players have sponsorship deals for the clothes they wear, but Williams didn't currently have one. That's when Lanny Denver, president and CEO of Jordache, played hilariously by Lena Dunham, stepped in and made Williams an all white denim tennis outfit. Needless to say, the clothes were a nightmare and coupled with Williams terrible playing, Jordache pulled the deal. You think this may have ended the match, but rain put day one on hiatus, with Poole winning the first set 6-0. Things all seemed well for the Englishman, but with added pressure from the Queen, played by June Squibb, Poole was coming undone. Day two showed Williams storming back, playing the best tennis of his life. People weren't sure where this spectacular play was coming from, but it appeared that Williams was doing copius amounts of cocaine from many different places on and around the court. Williams came back strong to tie it up. With both players being tied and no one winning match point, the match lasted eight hours each for the next two days with no winner. Day four looked to be Poole's chance to take the match, with Williams running out of gas and steam. But, two streakers came on to the court, one male one female, and Williams had a three way that lasted so long, the match had to be postponed for another day. That night, it was revealed that Williams was in an accident and his shoulder was separated. This looked to be the end for Williams, but he played the entire day left handed and just when it looked like he was finally going to lose, his close friend David Copperfield appeared out of nowhere onto Poole's shoulders. A magic trick gone wrong explained Copperfield with a wink. This being in Poole's head, the constant threat of someone landing on his shoulders out of nowhere, gave Williams another chance and the match went to day six. Before starting play, Williams held a press conference claiming he found out that his real father was from England and he was the greatest English tennis pro, clearly only doing this to mess with Poole's head. There was also the reveal of a sex tape between Williams and Poole's ex girlfriend, model Lily Allsworth, played by Karen Gillan. This only further screwed with Poole's head and he could not get the win over Williams. Williams ineptitude playing tennis, after being away from the game for six years, caused him the inability to get the win as well. We get to the seventh day, the day everyone hoped and prayed the match would end. There were plenty of great rallies and pretty decent tennis being played. All the stuff Williams had been doing to Poole all week finally boiled over and Poole challenged Williams to a fight. With the acceptance and go ahead from the Queen, the two players charged the net with their rackets being held like weapons. They met at the same time and hit each other simultaneously. They each went down and it was revealed that they instantly died. The match never ended with a winner. People felt that these two were such great competitors, that they should be buried in a casket together. The movie also featured the likes of, Fred Armisen, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Soledad O'Brien, John Hamm as the narrator and, the funniest one in the movie in my opinion, Jim Lampley. If you don't know who Jim Lampley is, he's a sports talk show host on HBO and he constantly made jokes about how none of this story really mattered because tennis is a stupid sport. He was hilarious.
I highly recommend checking out "7 Days in Hell". It's very funny.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for Seed Sing. He has played tennis, it was 7 minutes in hell. Follow him on twitter @tykulik