Fighting With My Family
Stars: Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Dwayne Johnson
The bad old days of noughties Britfilm are revisited in this disappointingly rote comedy drama, directed by Stephen Merchant and based on the 2012 documentary ‘The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family’ about Norfolk-born female wrestler Saraya-Jade Bevis, stage name Paige. The always watchable Pugh is Paige, the gothy daughter of ex-wrestling parents, Patrick ‘Rowdy Ricky Knight’ Bevis (Frost) and Julia ‘Sweet Sayara’ Knight (Headey). From an early age, she has been encouraged to pursue the sport along with her brother Zak (Lowden). Then they get a chance to try out for the big league WWE at the O2 in London, and after a pep talk from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, she manages to get through. Zak, unfortunately, does not. Paige is whisked off to Florida where she trains under no-nonsense trainer Hutch (Vaughn). But she struggles with her singular appearance (the other female wrestlers and ex-models are cheerleaders) as well as the wounded feelings of Zak back home. The Britfilm template of doughty, parochial working class protagonists taking on the establishment is well worn, while the script finds Merchant on autopilot, with the lion’s share of the gags based around a character saying something inappropriate. Johnson brings some much needed energy to the proceedings, but despite his prominence on the picture’s promotional material, his total screen time adds up to about ten minutes.