Ready to Rumble (2000) – By Jonathon Pernisek

 In a normal situation, my usually pretentious temperament would be digging its claws into my back right about now, demanding I tear a movie like Ready to Rumble to pieces for wasting my valuable time. However, I’m feeling slightly kind, and therefore today’s feature will not be put on the chopping block. At the same time you have to understand how little I enjoyed the film, since it’s easily one of the lease amusing comedies I’ve had the misfortune to watch.

To whom Rumble may appeal is not a difficult question to answer, but by doing so I may start painting some pretty ugly pictures. While it is certainly about the world of professional wrestling, I don’t see how it could find an audience in fans that are even slightly above average in intelligence. I say this not out of arrogance but because a friend of mine–a wrestling enthusiast himself–introduced me to the film in the first place. This gentleman is far and above the majority population when it comes to brain power, and so when he decided to rent it for the evening the action was done so out of morbid glee. He wanted me to witness this travesty, despite what it may do to my outlook on wrestling and its following.

About an hour and a half later, I believe my frontal lobe had turned into blue-gray pudding. To watch this movie is to stare wide-eyed into the sun. Spots began to appear in my field of vision as David Arquette, who is seriously meant to be the headlining star of this picture, failed time and again to deliver any joke with any sort of precise timing. His co-star, Scott Caan, is nothing more than a giant slab of beef moving in front of the camera like a mud-shellacked truck, which is about the most interesting thing you can say about the guy. Together, this wonderful duo set out to bring their favorite wrestler Jimmy King (played selflessly by an obviously pained Oliver Platt) out of retirement, all the while getting into all kinds of wacky scrapes. Trust me, this may sound like tame b-flick material, but it’ll have you writhing about on the couch in ten minutes, tops.

Not everything is a total loss, thank goodness. The actual wrestling portions are truly well-filmed, proving someone had a point when they wanted to make a movie about the sport. The finale, a gloriously over-the-top cage match with multiple levels and more than a dozen wrestlers, is cheesy in its epic scope and thus fun to watch. But as the credits rolled I realized just how much these segments made me want to watch a regular match instead of this putrid comedy. And there’s not even that much wrestling to begin with if you can believe it, since we spend so much time pushing our way through bad gags and bland plot points. If you’ve ever wanted to see Oliver Platt in rose-colored ‘70s specs and a sun dress, please, have at, but everyone else should steer clear. Ready to Rumble was a failure right out of the gate, and I doubt few would argue with such an opinion.