I’ve had an on and off interest in wrestling over the years so when I saw the trailer for Fighting With My Family I really wanted to see it. It’s the story of Paige and how she goes from wrestling shows with her family to being the WWE Divas champion. It’s also the directorial debut of Stephen Merchant who is most famous for voicing Wheatley in Portal 2, and the work he did with Ricky Gervais on shows like The Office I guess.
The film picks up when Paige is a kid and fighting with her brother and leads into how she initially starts wrestling with her parents and brother, and how her father keeps chasing up the WWE to see if they’ve received a demo video he sent. Eventually, Paige and her brother get a tryout where she gets the nod to join WWE’s developmental whereas her brother gets turned down.
This is where the meat of the story is with the film as Paige struggles with the training and making herself stand out from all the other trainees there while at the same time her brother struggles with being passed over for his dream. This aspect is handled really well I think, ultimately both are experiences that people have probably encountered at some point or another so Paige and Zak are both pretty identifiable.
It’s an impressive debut from Merchant, he’s made a film that’s got some visually impressive moments, especially the finale. He’s also helped with some solid performances from the whole cast, though Florence Pugh as Paige is obviously the standout and Vince Vaughn is impressive too. There’s also a lot to be said for seeing Dwayne Johnson being The Rock again.
Overall it’s a fun film with an interesting subject matter even if you don’t even have a passing interest in wrestling. I laughed a fair bit which is always a good sign. I will say if you’re into wrestling then it definitely adds something to the enjoyment. It’ll be interesting to see what Stephen Merchant directs next as early signs are he has a knack for it.
Beard Score: 7/10