Thursday, 13 February 2020

MOVIE REVIEW: Ready to Rumble (2000)

To a large contingent of the professional wrestling fandom, World Championship Wrestling's later years are remembered like a really bad case of teenage acne.

At the time, it was terrible, embarrassing, and made us ashamed to go out in public. Sure, it cleared up eventually, but even now, decades later, we can't help but cringe and feel slightly awkward when we remember just what a bad time it was. 

Like the one particularly prominent zit on the bulbous, Triple H-sized nose of wrestling history, the company's foray into the motion picture business was particularly traumatic. 

It was thanks to Ready to Rumble that we got the whole David Arquette: World Champion debacle.  Sure, that would all be settled when Arquette practically handed the title to Jeff Jarrett at Slamboree 2000, but even twenty years on, many fans still haven't quite come to terms with the fact that it happened in the first place.

Then there's the movie itself; an attempt at a pro wrestling buddy comedy which many fans felt painted them in a particularly poor light. 

On the face of it, you can hardly blame them for being a little miffed.






Ready to Rumble portrays protagonists Gordie Boggs (Arquette) and Sean Dawkins (Scott Caan) in particular -and wrestling fans in general,  as hopeless oafs who are so dumb and clueless that they don't realise pro wrestling -their only escape from their terrible, nothing-happening lives- is a work.

If you're one of those fans who hated Ready to Rumble because of the way it depicts wrestling fans, allow me to offer a counter-argument:

If the characters of Boggs and Dawkins were depicted as confident, successful, high-flying geniuses, there would be no movie. 

This isn't a film about all wrestling fans. It's a film about two particular fans for who whom WCW and it's headline act Jimmy King (Oliver Platt) represent the one positive thing they can hold onto as they struggle with the monotony and drudgery of their day-to-day existence. 

And to that end, I say Ready to Rumble works. 

It tells a simple -somewhat too simple, perhaps- story about a couple of down-on-their-luck dudes who seek an escape in the over-the-top world of professional wrestling and get involved in all kinds of wacky hijinks as they find themselves becoming more and more a part of that world.

This isn't supposed to be a serious, dramatic portrayal of the gruelling, gritty reality behind the glitzy, glamorous facade of professional wrestling. If you want that, go watch The Wrestler.


This isn't even supposed to be high-brow humour.

This is supposed to be the kind of low-brow, immature humour that was so popular during the 90s. This was supposed to be the Mallrats, American Pie or Road Trip of professional wrestling. 

Sure, some of that humour is a little too immature and low-brow. The main characters are depicted as sewage workers whose main responsibility seems to be porta potty maintenance. Naturally, this leads to a few scenes which take lavatorial humour to new depths and do leave you rolling your eyes.

Yet for every "LOL Poop" scene, there are a few genuinely funny moments and even a few sentimental moments that can be enjoyed if you overlook the fact that this is a film in which pro wrestling is depicted as legit.

So yes, it's kinda dumb. Yes, it depicts a world in which, despite having the likes of Diamond Dallas Page and Goldberg on their roster, the WCW title is held by a short, dumpy man who lives in a trailer. Yes, it's a film about porta potty attendants who somehow become pro wrestling superstars, but if you were expecting anything more than a dumb, over-the-top comedy, you're clearly watching the wrong movie. 

Ready to Rumble never tries to be something that it's not. It's a silly comedy that is good for passing an hour with some cheap chuckles, and with that in mind, this fan really enjoyed it...






...Even if it did lead to David Arquette holding the Big Gold Belt.


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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.