Fighting With My Family

Film, Comedy
4 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Fighting With My Family

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Florence Pugh brings her brass and chops to Stephen Merchant’s seriously likeable wrestling comedy.

Spoiler alert: You do know that pro wrestling is fake, 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 sizeable number of body slams.

Perhaps the Knights, a close-knit clan from Norwich 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 thrill to the bouts 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 tryouts.

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. More impressively, though, he steers the material toward affectionate rudeness – this is a film that makes Mötley Crüe’s ‘Wild Side’ sound square. Like School of Rock, the movie is about indoctrination into a subculture that, for all its surface trashiness, offers a deep, perhaps unexpected sense of belonging. Paige heads to Miami, where she makes peace with her bikini-clad competition (‘You sound like a Nazi in a movie!’ they coo over her accent) and gains wisdom from Hutch (Vince Vaughn in full-on insult mode), a coach who pushes her through boot camp.

After cry-laughing your way through the first half hour – even Dwayne Johnson playing himself is a riot, throwing down some primo trash talk – there’s an undeniable dip into a bummer middle section. Left behind in Norwich with his own career fantasy in shambles, Zak finds his identity slipping away (not your usual subplot), while Paige goes through the expected crisis of confidence that lingers long enough for you to do that circular, get-on-with-it gesture. But Merchant never loses our interest: He’s made a sparkly, strutting film that doesn’t apologise for or look down upon its heroes. A ‘soap opera in spandex’ is what Hutch calls pro wrestling to his trainees, and the movie follows suit. Who doesn’t love a melodrama in tights once in a while?

Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday March 1 2019
Duration:
108 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Stephen Merchant
Screenwriter:
Stephen Merchant
Cast:
Florence Pugh
Nick Frost
Lena Headey
Vince Vaughn
Jack Lowden

Users say (2)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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1 person listening
tastemaker

Saw the trailer to this and thought it might be a laugh but in all honesty the best bits of the movie are in the trailer and the rest of it was pretty basic. I wouldn't recommend going to the cinema for this and think its one of those movies you could watch at home when you're bored or not fully concentrating and its on in the background. The Rock had a few good one liners but wasn't that impressed sadly.

tastemaker

I'll be honest, I'd normally be put off by the subject matter being wrestling, 

however this film manages to be entertaining, funny, sad at times and heart 

warming. It's incredible that it is based on a true story and is always great to 

see a strong inspirational female lead. Overall, a really enjoyable watch!