Rumpled By ‘Rumble’

Akron Beacon Journal – April 7, 2000
By George M. Thomas

After sitting through “Ready to Rumble,” you’ll probably feel as if you’ve been locked in a half-nelson and pile-driven for the better part of two hours.

You’ll walk out punch-drunk from the sheer stupidity of this exercise in frivolity. (Then again, the lucky ones will leave halfway through this mess.)

When the movie isn’t mired in potty humor, it just lags. One scene has the film’s heroes — two portable toilet cleaners — being drowned in raw sewage.

Another scene has one of them getting a free slushy by sticking his finger where the sun don’t shine.

This is humor?

Not if you require some semblance of intelligent dialogue in the movies you view.

But maybe that’s too much to ask from a movie about pro wrestling — a contrived, brutish sport with legions of fans who plunk down serious do re mi to see grown men hit one another with chairs, pound one another to a pulp and throw one another out of the ring.

It’s not difficult to see why two C-list actors such as David Arquette and Scott Caan would agree to star in this one-joke mess. However, when the likes of Oliver Platt and Martin Landau participate in movies such as this, it gives one pause. These two actors have received more than their share of accolades. Landau even owns an Oscar.

Luckily for them, they’re the best aspects of “Ready to Rumble,” each bringing a certain class (if you can believe that) to the film.

“Ready to Rumble” doesn’t have the greatest pedigree. It’s directed by Brian Robbins, the talent who brought us Good Burger and Varsity Blues, and written by Steven Brill, the guy who brought us three — count ’em — three “Mighty Duck” films.

Gordie (Arquette) and Sean (Caan) are two losers from Lusk, Wyo., a small town in the middle of nothing. Their dream? To get into the world of professional wrestling.

They idolize Jimmy King (Platt) and are devastated when the portly grappler loses his heavyweight crown. King sinks into a world of wearing women’s lingerie and chugging cheap beer.

Sean and Gordie take him out of his silk-and-hops funk and, with the help of former wrestler Sal (Landau), they train King for a match to win back his crown.

You were expecting Shakespeare?

There is little energy required to create this film. Arquette and Caan are required only to act goofy. Platt and Landau actually seem to be enjoying their roles, taking them for what they’re worth.

Robbins is becoming the master of mediocrity. That is probably what was needed to bring “Ready to Rumble” to the screen.

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