Ready to Rumble

Directed by Brian Robbins
Starring: David Arquette, Oliver Platt, Scott Caan, Rose McGowan, Joe Pantoliano, Martin Landau, Page Falkinburg, Bill Goldberg.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, crude humor, sexual content including brief nudity, and wrestling violence.

Review by Matt Heffernan
April 10, 2000

In response to the incredible success of Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, Ted Turner created World Championship Wrestling to have his own wrestling programs on his own networks. Turner has also merged his broadcasting empire with Time Warner, so it was only a matter of time before he made Ready to Rumble: a feature-length commercial for WCW produced by Warner Bros.

In Lusk, Wyoming, septic tank pumpers Gordie Boggs (David Arquette) and Sean Dawkins (Scott Caan) have nothing in their lives that mean more than wrestling. Their favorite wrestler is Jimmy King (Oliver Platt), the undefeated WCW heavyweight champion. He is defending his title against Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkinburg) in Cheyenne, so Gordie and Sean get to see the match live.

Corrupt manager Titus Sinclair (Joe Pantoliano) has told Page to really beat up The King, instead of losing, as in the pre-determined outcome. King is embarrassed and kicked out of WCW, going back to obscurity. Gordie and Sean take it upon themselves to find The King, and restore his former glory.

I suppose that Ready to Rumble succeeds in its intent: to show off the WCW. The wrestling scenes are very well orchestrated, making the matches look much better than they do on television. The humor is mostly directed at the 8-16 age range, with plenty of jokes related to the sanitation profession. However, for anybody that made it through high school, watching this film could be a trying time.

For one, buying Platt as a professional wrestler is just not happening. He is so incredibly talented, but has just been wasted in one film after another since Bulworth. Worse yet is seeing Martin Landau play a wrestling trainer. How depressing is it to start your career with North by Northwest, and end up with this? This casting could have been an attempt at irony, but it smelled more like desperation.

It's a shame that so much had to be wasted, because there were some moments where it looked like the film could really take off. Some of the jokes were funny, but in the end it has not entertained as much as it has promoted Ted Turner.

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Ready to Rumble (2000)

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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan