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Ready to Rumble

movie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Ready to Rumble

Starring: David Arquette, Scott Caan
Director: Robbins 129799
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 122 Minutes
Release Date: April 2000
Genres: Comedy, Sports


*Also starring: Oliver Platt, Martin Landau, Rose McGowan, Bill Goldberg, John Goodman, Jack Palance



Review by MrBrown
1 star out of 4

Professional wrestling has long suffered the criticism that it caters to the most lowbrow audience with its barely organized displays of violence. But as low as wrestling goes, rarely does it plunge to the crass depths explored by the wrestling-themed comedy _Ready_to_Rumble_, which goes out of its way to prove that tastelessness does not equal comic inspiration.

To their credit, writer Steven Brill and director Brian Robbins satisfy their crudest instincts in the film's early stages, which concerns fanatical World Championship Wrestling (as opposed to World Wrestling Federation) fans Gordie (David Arquette) and Sean's (Scott Caan) search for their hero, dethroned and disgraced wrestling champion Jimmy King (Oliver Platt). Gordie and Sean work in sanitation--namely, the cleaning of portapotties--so leave it to Brill and Robbins to not leave any raw sewage joke uncovered. They even go the extra mile, venturing beyond mere jokes about excrement and flatulence into the territory of crab lice. Prefer cheap slapstick over bodily function humor? Worry you not--the film's opening "match" set in a convenience store is but the first in a very long line of brutal fights unsuccessfully played for laughs.

_Ready_to_Rumble_ is rated PG-13, and it provides ample ammunition for the argument that the MPAA ratings board is extremely lenient when it comes to violence. Very little blood is shed in _Rumble_, but many severe beatings are suffered by a number of characters, including a "Nitro Girl" cheerleader named Sasha (Rose McGowan) at the hands of her "boyfriend" Gordie. While there is no doubt as to the less-than-serious intent, there is nothing particularly cartoonish about the execution: those are real kicks and punches being thrown, and genuine body slams and other wrestling maneuvers being performed. While being inundated with so much brutality for such a long while, it's impossible to stop lightly giggling (which is the most any of the mayhem will induce) and start cringing.

While such poor content makes it mighty tempting to walk out of the auditorium and never return, I remained curiously fascinated for a couple of reasons. First, the film is so audacious in its stupidity I had a masochistic urge to see just how low it would go. Second, I was taken aback by the actors, who displayed some admirable conviction in their work--a fact made more admirable by the questionable nature of their material. Gordie and Sean do find "the King" and help him mount a comeback, and the uphill struggle back to glory is given some surprising--and wholly undeserved--resonance by Platt. And though they're called on to do nothing more than play obnoxious jackasses for the entire run time, there's also no question that Arquette and Caan succeed in fulfilling that requirement.

In the world of professional wrestling, the World Championship Wrestling organization is widely regarded as being a bit more tasteful and--dare I say it--classy than its raunchier (and more popular) rival, the World Wrestling Federation. I guess the WCW higher-ups figures that if they can't beat 'em, join 'em, for the big screen commercial that is _Ready_to_Rumble_ just proves that the WCW can sink to the same lows in taste, albeit in a more spectacular, big-screen fashion.

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