Review: ‘Wrestlemaniac’

A $1,200 mockumentary that's as roughhewn as its subject, "Wrestlemania" wants to be the "Spinal Tap" of bargain basement body slamming. Pic follows the fortunes of two brothers, "Splinter" (Matthew Brown) and "James Blond" (Christopher McGovern). The two form a tag team and make the rounds of bingo halls and high school gyms.

A $1,200 mockumentary that’s as roughhewn as its subject, “Wrestlemania” wants to be the “Spinal Tap” of bargain basement body slamming. Pic follows the fortunes of two brothers, “Splinter” (Matthew Brown), a jaded veteran, and “James Blond” (Christopher McGovern), an eager Johnny-come-lately full of ideas for ever-new gimmicks. The two form a tag team and make the rounds of bingo halls and high school gyms. Fleeting funny moments, particularly revolving around a 7-foot Russian giant (Radu Spinghel) who doesn’t understand the concept of show-biz, fail to compensate for unevenness of thesping and long stretches of poorly shot matches, probably limiting brief pic to sports-themed cable venues.

Characters’ naive aspirations and ultra-limited viewpoints create believable petty sibling bickering and generate some good laughs: Hefty “James Blond,” deciding to shuck his tux and moniker for a trashy new “Madonna look,” earnestly tries on a succession of g-strings over his pants, hesitating between the gold and the black. But amateurish lead performance by McGovern (a NYC fireman) proves detrimental to dialogue and comic timing. Tech credits by virtual one-man film crew, Matthew James Sheridan, are suitably seat-of-the-pants.

Wrestlemaniac

Production

A Doogan Prods. production. Produced by Matthew James Sheridan. Executive producer, Marty Sheridan. Directed, written, edited by Matthew James Sheridan.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Sheridan; music, Jimmy O'Donnell; casting, Denise Felice. Reviewed on cassette at Film Fleadh, New York, March 25, 2003. Running time: 70 MIN.

With

Christopher McGovern, Matthew Brown, Johnny Rodz, Radu Spinghel, Tom Reilly, Sean Kevin Gaffney, Chris Tangerman.
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