Thursday, December 3, 2020

You Cannot Kill David Arquette review – as unbelievable as a wrestling bout | Film


Here is the strange, frantic, semi-explained story of the Hollywood star David Arquette, a member of the renowned Arquette acting clan, and his recent attempts to reverse a celebrity career slump by making it as a professional wrestler, 20 years after he actually won America’s World Championship Wrestling belt in 2000 as a weird byproduct of being in the wrestling movie Ready to Rumble. Apparently, the organisers found him sufficiently impressive to let him participate in the actual event’s “storylines” and even fluke a victory – although the backstage discussions around that are never revealed here. The wrestling world has form in letting celebs have a go (Donald Trump has done many WWE stunts) but the pure silliness and improbability of it all enraged diehard wrestling fans, who felt Arquette contaminated the brand. Well, complaining about US wrestling being fixed is like complaining that a Punch and Judy show isn’t real – but enjoyment does depend on believing in it at some level.

This is a very odd, strained film, as theatrically faked as any wrestling bout, which has been produced by Arquette’s wife Christina McLarty Arquette, and it feels like a promo reel for Arquette himself. We see him complaining pathetically about how he doesn’t get acting jobs any more (despite being on the Vanity Fair 1996 Hollywood issue cover with Leonardo DiCaprio et al) and deciding to go for wrestling glory – getting in shape, training, getting his ass kicked, doing dangerous Jackass-ish bouts and finally getting his chance. Could this film be read as a satirical poke at the silly wrestling-like tomfoolery of all showbusiness? Maybe. But I can’t help thinking that a real documentary could be made about David Arquette’s midlife crisis and this isn’t it.

• Released on 23 November on digital formats.

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