Spoiler Alert: You do know that pro wrestling isn’t 100 percent real, right? Don’t want to crush any dreams here.
The boastful, performative nature of WWE, spiked with mini dramas and constant role-playing, becomes the lingua franca of an atypical household in Fighting with My Family, the sweetest of comedies despite a number of body slams.
Perhaps the Knights, a close-knit clan from working-class Norwich, England, are onto something.
Dad and mum – a perfectly matched Nick Frost (tattooed and bushy bearded) and Games of Thrones’ Lena Headey (flaunting a fierce red dye job) – are former wrestling attractions who now support the wrestling dreams of their grown-up children. Zak (Jack Lowden) and Raya (Florence Pugh). Together, they run a local gym and training academy, mainly for kids.
But the big show eludes them, until a life-changing phone call comes, and Zak and Raya head to London for try-outs.
If you’re already aware that Raya goes by the stage name Paige (from her favourite gothy Charmed character), you may know too much – the film is based on a real-life success story, turned into a 2012 documentary.
Suffice to say that writer-director Stephen Merchant, a comedy legend for co-creating The Office, is happy to hit every inspirational beat with this movie, which suits the family theme.
Like School of Rock, the movie is about indoctrination into a subculture that offers a deep, perhaps unexpected sense of belonging.
Paige heads to Miami, where she makes peace with her lycra-clad competition (“you sound like a baddie in a movie!” they coo over her accent) and gains wisdom from Hutch, a coach who pushes her through boot camp.
A “soap opera in spandex” is what Hutch calls pro wrestling to his trainees, and the movie follows suit.
There’s an undeniable dip in the middle, but who doesn’t love a melodrama in tights? Joshua Rothkopf
WHAT IS IT...
Hilarious melodrama about a star from WWE
For the jokes and body slams