Ready To Rumble (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/12/2000

Two out of five stars.
Running time: 107 mins

Dumb and Dumber, with extra added wrestling.

Let’s face it – if you go to see a comedy about wrestling, you’re not expecting greatness. Which is just as well, because Ready to Rumble is one of those movies that positively celebrates its own stupidity, and you’ll either happily go along with it or you won’t. (If it’s greatness-and-sport-related violence you’re after, check out the re-release of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull).

David Arquette (the Scream trilogy) and Scott Caan (son of James Caan) play two nice-but-dim septic tank cleaners who are obsessed with Monday Night Wrestling and refuse to believe the fights are all faked. However, when their idol, reigning champion Jimmy The King (Oliver Platt) is stitched up by sneaky fight promoter Titus Sinclair (Joe Pantoliano), the two friends make it their personal mission to help him win back the title.

What lifts Ready to Rumble above the usual dire standard of Hollywood so-called ‘comedies’ is the conviction of the performances – despite the depths plumbed by the material (Arquette mumbling about how he always rather liked the smell of raw sewage, a van full of farting nuns, etc), the actors give it all they’ve got. Caan does well in his first leading role, anchoring the film with an agreeably sweet-natured performance, though he can’t resist a ‘Costner Moment’, providing the film with its only nude scene.

There’s good support too, from the ubiquitous Joe Pantoliano (currently in three films on general release), the under-rated Oliver Platt (having fun with his sub-Elvis performance and catchphrases such as "I will RULE you!"), and Martin Landau, as octogenarian wrestling guru Sal Bandini, who’s roped in to help whip The King into shape. It’s Arquette who steals the movie though – your enjoyment of the film will largely be in proportion to just how funny you find his wrestling-obsessed character.

There are a few let-downs, obviously. Rose Macgowan is criminally wasted as Arquette’s love interest, not least in the ‘implied nudity’ scene (where a character sees nudity but the audience doesn’t), which surely cheats the intended audience out of part of what they came for, especially as it features in the trailer. A lot of the gags fall flat too, but at least they come at a decent rate. That said, there’s a lot to enjoy, and wrestling fans will get an extra kick out of spotting all the real-life wrestlers who play themselves.

Perfect brain-free entertainment, then, and a damn sight funnier than either Little Nicky or Bedazzled.

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Content updated: 19/09/2018 17:54

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