Ready to Rumble
2000, PG-13, 100 min. Directed by Brian Robbins. Starring Martin Landau, Joe Pantoliano, Diamond Dallas Page, Rose Mcgowan, Bill Goldberg, Scott Caan, Oliver Platt, David Arquette.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., April 14, 2000
I'm sorry. I laughed. I know the whole country has spent the past week trashing this wrestling comedy's asinine plot, premise, and performances. And I agree with the naysayers 100% -- as long as they notice that there's a “one” accompanying those two big zeros. But I laughed, not for the whole 100 minutes, but enough to know that discounting the movie's crude and uncouth humor wholesale would be dishonest. Call me jaded, but maybe there's something pleasurable about a comedy that has no pretensions about where it's coming from. The movie's most recurrent humor derives from blows to the testicles (in fact, the now-common outtake reel that accompanies the closing credits consists of nothing but these little nutcrackers) and the comic consequences of a career spent driving a septic-tank truck. David Arquette and Scott Caan play Dumber and Dumbest (no, these aren't the characters' real names, but you get the point), the world's biggest wrestling fans. The first 15 minutes (which, for my money are the best 15 in the film) set the story in motion as it establishes the personal meaning that wrestling holds for Dumber and Dumbest and their obsession with star Jimmy King (Platt). (“Jimmy King says I can be anyone.” “No,” says the other. “That's I can beat anyone.”) Arquette and Caan are agreeable enough doofuses, although Platt is a bit of a stretch as a believable wrestler. He is more plump than powerful. But his deliciously game demeanor is always a welcome asset to movies, and he's certainly less of a stretch to believe as a wrestler than Martin Landau. Filled with lots of appearances by real wrestling stars, the movie seems a certain shoo-in among a certain demographic. But if you're going, hit the theatres soon because this one looks ready to tumble.