From the first time I saw the trailers, I wanted in.
A comedy about the WWE wrestler, Paige, and her journey through its ranks, written and directed by Stephen Merchant and featuring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Fighting With My Family feels like it already has a lot going for it.
And with up-and-coming actor Florence Pugh in the middle of the ring, it seems like this film is going to be a goddamn smackdown.
But what is it that we can smell cooking?
Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE.
But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her loved ones behind and face this new cutthroat world alone
Paige’s journey pushes her to dig deep and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star.
Well whatever it is, it’s 100% on the same level as whatever The Rock is cooking!
Taking Paige’s story, Merchant and co. deliver a loveable, comedic (and somewhat dramatised) romp through the dreams of a family and their lofty aspirations to make it to the WWE.
Pugh leads the way, as we watch a young woman fight with her family. While it may not be physical, it’s a trek through the cost of other people’s lives and our own perceptions. We see this sort of dysfunction layer itself on top of what the “norm” would already assume is dysfunctional, all the while as action and comedy wraps itself around the tale.
An expertly cast Bevis-family sees Lena Heady and Nick Frost portray parents Julia and Patrick, along with Jack Lowden as brother Zak, who stands as a mirror to Paige’s story as her spark ignites.
Vince Vaughn, who I feel I just haven’t seen in a long time, stars as the potentially fictional (and definitely is) Hutch Morgan who exists as the means to show off the determination Paige had to get to the top (of which her real life rise is even more bonkers).
And yes, The Rock is there because he is a goddam smart businessman and works as a modernised piece of the story to provide a sense of connective tissue between the town of Norwich meeting the grandeur lights of the WWE.
Merchant’s knack for timing and delivery excels behind the camera, tying together something that at first glance comes off as surreal, but is ultimately the result of what some would attribute to the likes of destiny.
Sweeping shots and beautiful transitions bounce us off the ropes of Paige’s amazing tale, that leads us to the ultimate showdown of her ego versus id.
Because when the 1, 2, 3 count comes, Fighting With My Family delivers the pin and we’ll all feel like winners at the end.
Fighting With My Family may just be the very the best film about wrestling that lives up to the moniker of the "classic representative of the sport" film.
Heartfelt, funny and familial, when Paige declares "This is MY house!", you'll see why she invited us all in.