World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the largest wrestling league in the
world, wants to get into the pictures. Therefore, they have created WWE
Studios, a film studio which appears to exist entirely to create vehicles
for their wrestling stars to try their hands at acting.
sort of makes sense; there is a long history of wrestlers doing acting, such
as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Captain Lou Albano and Randy “Macho” Man
Savage – though none of those could really be said to have carved out a huge
idea of a wrestler not being able to make it as a leading man has taken a
beating by the biggest name in the WWE stable (though, I don’t believe he’s
actively part of the league anymore). Duane “The Rock” Johnson has had a
surprisingly fertile career as an actor (though most of his films were
not WWE productions).
Still, the league took notice and realized that they could make a real
payday by putting together low-budget star vehicles for their biggest
names. The movies would have a built-in audience, since the fighters
already had a fan base.
The Marine, 12 Rounds and the upcoming
The Reunion. None of those were particularly good films (though
obviously I have to withhold judgment on The Reunion until its
release), but Cena actually had a bit of a light comic touch, leading to a
pretty decent guest spot on the TV series Psych.
first experiments were with John Cena, a likable if slightly wooden actor
who starred in WWE showcases
Other vehicles followed for wrestlers like Edge (Adam Copeland), The Big
Show (Paul Wight), Ted DiBiase and more. Honestly, most of them went
straight to video, I never saw any of them and can’t even comment on their
latest attempt comes on the buff, masculine frame of Paul “Triple H”
Levesque. Inside Out is his second film to come out in 2011 (it was
preceded by the family comedy The Chaperone.) Inside Out is
getting an exceedingly short limited theatrical release before reaching
video in a few months.
nice surprise is the Levesque (I know nothing about wrestling, so I’m gonna
hold off on calling him Triple H since I have no clue what the hell that is
supposed to mean) is actually a pretty decent actor. Not a lot of range,
perhaps, but he is much less wooden than Cena. He is able to convey
feelings with a bit of subtlety, and he does not look overmatched when
dealing with professional actors.
WWE is actually trying its best to make this a quality production. They
hired three respected (formerly) big name co-stars for the film, 90s indie
darlings Michael Rapaport and Parker Posey and 70s superstar Bruce Dern.
Honestly, Rapaport is way over the top (but then again, that has always been
his MO) and Posey and Dern sort of feel like they are phoning in their
roles, but each of them does have some fine moments here. In fact, the
acting in general is not bad, with the exception of Jency Griffin as a
heartless hit-woman – and even that may have just been the impossibly
problem is, they probably should have spent some of that money in hiring a
screenwriter. Inside Out is pretty much a long line of potboiler
clichés strung together to feature length, which undoes all of the smarter
and more eccentric touches that they try to tack on… and there definitely
are some. An interesting setting in post-Katrina New Orleans is also
somewhat squandered – for the most part, this could be in any city, any
Levesque plays AJ, a former mob-enforcer who is returning home from jail
after doing 13 years because he covered up for his
best friend Jack (Rapaport). When he gets home, he wants to go straight
(making pickles???!!!), but Jack is determined to get him back into the
life. In the meantime, AJ finds out that Jack has married his girlfriend
(Posey) and raised his daughter (Juliette Goglia). Then when AJ goes with
Jack to make a pick up as a favor for the local mob boss (Dern), things
suddenly go violently wrong and AJ is suddenly forced back into the deadly
world of cigarette smuggling (???!!!).
However, the audience knows what will happen pretty much from start to
finish and that lack of surprise pretty much skewers much chance that
Inside Out will get much of an audience outside of wrestling circles,
despite some decent moments.
Wrestling fans aren’t necessarily big fans of surprise, though, so this
should at the very least work well for its targeted audience.
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: September 5, 2011.