For all those out there who can’t wait for the next Adam Sandler movie, and especially for those who find those Adam Sandler movies a little too intellectually challenging, we now have “Ready to Rumble,” a sort of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Wrestling Adventure.
David Arquette and Scott Caan play Gordie and Sean, two likeable doofuses who worship “the King” — wrestling champion Jimmy King (Oliver Platt), who seems to have appropriated his accent and substance abuse problem from that other King, Elvis. Horrified when the King is defeated by Diamond Dallas Page, they resolve to help him regain the title.
This process leads them to encounter a van full of nuns singing Van Halen’s “Driving with the Devil,” a sultry Nitro Girl named Sasha (Rose McGowan), a tough old wrestling coach (Martin Landau), the King’s bitter ex-wife (Caroline Rhea) and snaggle-toothed son, and an average of one joke about poop or testicles every 10 minutes.
Arquette and Caan are hard to resist, though. Most actors who play clueless characters can’t resist show-boating to let us know how clever they are. Arquette and Caan just open themselves up to the inner dope. Their simple exhuberence, loyalty, and sweetness keep this movie from feeling too sour or tired. The able support of character actors like Platt, Landau, Joe Pantoliano (as the wrestling promoter), the sadly underused Rhea, an assortment of wrestling superstars like Goldberg and Sting and some good music help to keep it moving. This may also be the only soundtrack in history to feature both Kid Rock and Aaron Copeland.
Parents should know that despite the rating, this movie has a lot of R- type material, including incessent and very raw potty humor, strong language, sexual references, and a bare behind. Part of the adventure is sexual initiation for both of the leading characters. A bad guy tells an employee to have sex with someone to find out what he is up to. A girl “presents” a boy with sex as a gift.
Families who see the movie should talk about how we pick our heroes, how we live up to our dreams, and how we learn which dreams to follow.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the much funnier and less raunchy “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”