It must be a mixed blessing to be Michael Buffer. He is the man in the tuxedo famous for intoning Let's get . . . ready to RUMBLE !" before sporting events and, for all I know, weddings and bingo games. He is rich and famous, yes. But how many times a day/week/month/lifetime do you suppose he has to listen to people shouting Michael Buffer imitations into his ear? And is it discouraging that the excitement is over for him just as it's beginning for everyone else? These thoughts ran through my mind during "Ready to Rumble." Buffer appears in the movie and duly performs Are you ready to rumble, and so earnestly was I not ready to rumble that I wanted the camera to follow him out of the arena instead of staying for a three-cage fight to the death between Jimmy ("The King") King and Diamond Dallas Page.
It's not that I have anything against professional wrestling. I have a newfound respect for the sport after seeing the documentary "Beyond the Mat," which establishes without a shadow of a doubt that when you are thrown out of the ring in a scripted fight with a prearranged winner, it nevertheless hurts when you hit the floor. I am in awe of wrestlers--not as athletes, but as masochists. They take a lickin' and keep on kickin'.
The problem with "Ready to Rumble" is that its hero is not a wrestler but an actor, Oliver Platt. Platt is a good comic actor and I have liked him in a lot of movies, but here he is not well-used and occupies a role that would have been better filled by a real wrestler. That is demonstrated every time Diamond Dallas Page is on the screen, playing himself with such ferocity that Platt seems to be playing "Jimmy the King" in a key heard only by himself.
The plot is easily summarized: "Dumb and Dumber Meet Dumbbell." David Arquette and Scott Caan are Gordie and Sean, best pals in a Wyoming hamlet where watching the Monday night fights on cable brings the only joy into their lives as sanitation servicemen. By day they suction the contents out of Porta-Potties, and by night they hang out in the parking lot of a convenience store, lecturing callow youths on the glories of wrestling as America's finest sport.