Dwayne Johnson and Vince Vaughn star in Fighting with My Family: Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Dwayne Johnson and Vince Vaughn star in Fighting with My Family: Picture: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

MOVIE REVIEW: Wrestling film a scrappy-go-lucky affair

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (M)

Rating: Three stars (3 out of 5)

Director: Stephen Merchant (Cemetery Junction)

Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn, Dwayne Johnson, Lena Headey, Nick Frost.

Fake it til you make it … then keep on faking it

 

For some people, such interests are not merely a fleeting guilty pleasure, but a complete way of life. Respect that notion and then sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge a genial good time awaits you here.

Florence Pugh stars as Paige. Picture: MetroGoldwyn
Florence Pugh stars as Paige. Picture: MetroGoldwyn

This is the true(ish) story of Saraya-Jade Bevis, a British female wrestler who made a name for herself in the US under her fighting nom de plume of Paige.

Interestingly, the movie is at its funniest and feistiest before Paige (played by rising star Florence Pugh) gets her call-up to join the iconic World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stable.

In these scenes, we learn Paige was raised in a family of grapplers, all of whom live and breathe pro wrestling.

Mum and Dad (played by Lena Headey and Nick Frost) are squared-circle lifers who not only take the tickets at the door, but often take a dive off the top ropes during the main bout.

Paige has known all the ins and outs of the craft from a very early age, as has her brother Zak (Jack Lowden).

The Rock plays himself. Picture: AP
The Rock plays himself. Picture: AP

While both siblings are invited by the veteran WWE talent scout Hutch (Vince Vaughn) to audition for the big time, it is only Paige who ultimately makes the cut.

Understandably, Zak does not take the news very well at all. Just as predictably, Paige is going to be facing a rude awakening upon reaching the US.

Female wrestlers in America have a look - think a Barbie doll on steroids - that is an aesthetic universe away from Paige's pale white skin and graveyard-after-midnight eyeliner.

The movie does have its flat spots once Paige enters WWE Boot Camp and Zak descends into a full-on mope, but there is always the chance another cameo from WWE legend Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is just around the corner.

Credited as one of the producers (along with the WWE itself, which comes out smelling like roses of course) The Rock is a welcome, reassuring presence here, particularly because he can dish out the same sarcastic banter as Paige and her unruly clan.

Fighting with My Family opens tomorrow.

Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh.
Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh.