Sometimes you’ve just got to have the courage to believe…
The Main Event which launched today on Netflix is a simple but charming affair that hits all the feel good spots for a kids sports movie that’s wrapped up in a nice feel good package for anyone (and everyone) on lockdown right now in their own steel cage match with boredom and anxiety.
When 11-year-old Leo Thompson (Seth Carr) discovers a magical wrestling mask that grants him super strength, he uses it to enter a WWE competition. With the support of his grandmother (Tichina Arnold), Leo will do whatever it takes to achieve his dream of becoming a WWE Superstar. Can one kid win it all, in the face of epic challengers in the ring?
I am a professional wrestling fan, but that being said…even I was cringing when I fired this one up.
That being said The Main Event is actually a solid and fairly silly diversion for the whole family that has a positive life message for the young ones and actually earns the occasional laugh from all age demographics along the way.
Director Jay Karas is a TV veteran with an extensive list of credits and is exactly what this film needed; A competent and serviceable storyteller. It all has real flow to it and we never get bogged down in any moments too badly and while the action is more than a little over the top it’s all incredibly well staged and will certainly keep any of the younger age demographics engaged when anyone plops them in front of the TV.
While the script follows a fairly cookie cutter pattern that isn’t going to surprise anyone who has seen a sports film before but it all plays well enough and executes the expected beats in the narrative very well. Even though there is the occasional moment of goofiness that skews heavy towards the film’s target demographic it’s a smart enough film to keep everything on the rails and not make any adults watching it all want to dial out as it’s all very simple but exceptionally strong in message and in execution.
Seth Carr is a strong young lead as our hero and wannabe WWE superstar. He exudes a natural charisma that allows him to carry the film easily enough and we buy into him as our protagionist. He manages the balance between the moments of genuine drama and comedy exceptionally well and he earns not only the moments of gonzo action but also the quieter ones where he’s navigating family issues. Tichina Arnold brings some solid comedic chops as his Grandma and Adam Pally works well as the haggered and emotional fraught single dad. Ken Marino anchors the other end as our scenery chewing bad guy and the WWE Superstars who make appearances mostly carry their own, in particular Keith Lee as our hero’s new friend ‘Smooth Operator’ as we follow Leo trying to become a WWE superstar.
The Main Event admittedly doesn’t have anything that is a big time needle mover from a cinematic standpoint…and that’s actually OK. Sometimes it’s nice to have some entertainment that will actually work for the entire family.