REVIEW: “FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY” (2019) MGM

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A movie, whether based on a true story or fictional one, may be a blend of both facts and fictionalized scenes and events. “FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY” seems to be case in point depending on whom you speak to.  But instead of pointing out fact v. fiction, just sit back watch and enjoy this one folks.  Let go of the being overly critical all the time as ‘Fighting with my Family’ might have its flaws and not be completely true down to the line, it definitely does have its charms.

Probably the first thing you will do is a double take on the director and writer and make sure if it is THE Stephen Merchant doing triple duty here writing/directing/starring in this film. Turns out it is, which immediately ups the ‘interesting’ level a notch or two.  Even more crazy is to think that Merchant did not know a thing about wrestling before taking on the project.

Inspired by the story of the Knight family, the film tells the story of Saraya “Paige” Bevis (Florence Pugh) and her desire to become a female wrestler.  With the odds against her, along with a family of completely wrestling crazed parents in dad Ricky (Nick Frost), mom Julia (Lena Heady) and brother Zak (Jack Lowden), all of whom put on wrestling shows and train others in Norwich, a small suburb in the UK.  Paige and her brother get called up for a WWE tryout, but with only Paige making the cut, Zak is completely devastated and Paige must deal with not only this, but the drastic change her life is taking and the hard road to living out her dream of being a WWE Superstar.

The next hour is filled with what it’s like to attend the WWE school of hard knocks led by Hutch (Vince Vaughn), and how to alienate and then make best friends with your competition.  This part can sometimes just be all to consuming as we’ve seen this type of story many times before.  Overcoming adversity to win the challenge at the end and it’s here that the film can’t help feeling clichéd. The saving grace here is the flashbacks to Zak being left behind in Norwich and where his life is heading, or seemingly not heading to and it’s got some truly lovely, heartwarming story line.  But training montage footage galore, sibling rivalry leading to a profound confrontation that resolves the issue, and the underdog overcoming the odds gives no surprises to the ending.   Now of course, it’s going to pump in the Hollywood magic to try to help the movie. The Rock is throughout the movie, and while he wasn’t truly vital to Paige’s career, his scenes are fun. The actors do an amazing job with their roles, and have very good comedic chemistry. This movie is witty and charming but at times, it’s all over the place.

The initial presentation of the Knight family rang true, authentic and affable. Putting it in their actual home was a good idea. Frost and Headey were great in the roles as Paige’s parents and Puge did a very good job as Paige. Lowden as her brother made a good mentor, but it also tried to take the high road and make Paige an angelic character.  However, from what I understand, if you are a fan of Paige or the Knight family at all, you will quickly start to see fictionalized moments, exaggerations and inaccuracies. These are something that as a viewer who has no knowledge of the wrestling world, will not impact in the slightest.  No matter this situation, everyone will recognize names such as Hulk Hogan and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin – and of course The Rock with his signature “If you smell what The Rock is cooking” done a few times for good measure – makes you realize how far this guy has come.

Overall, the film maintains a good balance of comedy and drama and you don’t need to know anything about WWE or sports entertainment to enjoy the film. Merchant does a good job for his first run here.

Grade: C+

@pegsatthemovies

 

Review Screening Monday, February 11, 2019 ~  courtesy of LAFTV meetup

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Check out my review of ‘Cuban Fury’ #peggyatthemovies

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“Cha..cha..cha.. Cha..cha..cha”… Yep.. that’s what you will want to do after you see this fun little romp called “Cuban Fury.” and I enjoyed every minute of this lovely little screening I was able to attend on Wednesday..and as an added bonus I might add..the “Mad Men’ premiere just happened to be going on at the same time so I was able to catch some of my favs from that show on the Red Carpet.  But, back to the movie,  Let me just emphasize this movie is not what you think it probably is.  It’s a lovely little British comedy starring Rashida Jones (Julia), as the American boss, Nick Frost (Bruce), as the Salsa dancer, Chris O’Dowd (Drew), as his ‘friend’ or foe as you will see, and Olivia Coleman(Sam), has a great supporting as Bruce’s salsa partner/sister. Ian McShane (Ron) & Rory Kinnear (Gary) also have great supporting roles that will make you laugh..Best supporting character is by far is Kayvan Novak (Bejan) who has some of the funniest delivery of lines I’ve seen in awhile..You might not recognize all their names, but you will recognize all of them from the ton’s of movies/shows they’ve all been in combined.

Basically, Bruce and his sister were Salsa dancers as kids and won every contest far & wide, except for one.. And then Bruce quit because of what happened before that last contest, which of course involves bullies..  years later as he’s just living an ordinary life, Julia comes in as the new boss at his company and she’s lovely..But she seems interested in Drew rather than Bruce because he’s now overweight and a bit schlumpy. But he finds out her one thing she loves is Salsa.. And there you go.. won’t tell you the rest as yes, it’s as corny as end all..but somehow it works..It’s funny – in the British humour way..if you don’t like British humour..this might not be for you..it’s sweet, it’s got GREAT music in it and you can’t help but move in your seat to the rhythm of it all.  It’s not the best movie, but it’s entertaining and fun..and that is all I really ask for in a movie nowadays.  Grade: C+

#peggyatthemovies