GOLDEN ARM is sure to become a classic
GOLDEN ARM (2021)
Women’s arm wrestling honestly seems like the weirdest topic to cover in a film. We normally don’t think about women going into professional arm wrestling, and the promotional images look like G.L.O.W. mixed with—well—arm wrestling. However, I’m always game to try something once, and I do love a good comedy, but will the fictionalized take on the world of women’s arm wrestling really hold anyone’s attention? Or will it fall flat on the table?
Maureen Bharoocha comes off her three-year stint as a segment director for Jimmy Kimmel Live! for her big screen debut, Golden Arm. She expertly uses color to its full advantage in the film to help tell the story, allowing the cinematography to push the viewer into a visually pleasing adventure in a fictionalized ladies’ arm-wrestling world. What could have been a weak summer comedy becomes a sure-fire classic under Bharoocha’s expert direction. The female buddy movie is back, and Bharoocha is leading the pack.
While the storyline can sometimes be a little tropey, with bakery owner Melanie (Mary Holland) being the typical type-A with a wild(ish) past she’s left behind only to rediscover herself thanks to her wacky college best friend, Danny (Betsy Sodaro), the plot is so wonderfully absurd that the viewer never has a moment to think, “I’ve seen this before.” Instead, the audience is led onto a path that’s unique and enthralling. The characters are deliciously madcap, and you can’t help but get pumped up as Melanie embarks on an arm-wrestling career with the help of Danny and Big Sexy (Dot-Marie Jones) on a quest to compete against the reigning (evil) champ, Brenda (Olivia Stambouliah).
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The chemistry between Holland and Sodaro radiates off the screen, and I sincerely hope we see them teamed up in another film ASAP. Sodaro’s charm lies in the fact she’s not afraid to let it all hangout which pairs perfectly with Holland’s more subdued and understated comedic style. In short, we’re looking at one of the strongest female on-screen comedy teams in a long time. The strong supporting cast, including Stambouliah, Jones, Dawn Luebbe, Eugene Cordero and the always enjoyable Kate Flannery play off of one another to create one of the best comedies of recent years.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The makeup is understated when it needs to be and over-the-top enjoyable when the characters need to stand out. My one complaint is the repeated use of a splotch of flour on Melanie’s right temple whenever she’s baking (I’m splitting hairs here), but it doesn’t take away from the film at all. The real standout is the competition makeup which looks like it came straight out from an 80s wrestling competition (with the hair to match). The stage costumes and wigs look cheap, but it’s evident they’re supposed to, and it just adds to the camp factor. Finally, the sets are exactly where you would expect a ladies’ arm-wrestling tournament to take place at—a small venue with cheap hotels and dive bars thrown in for good measure.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Even though it’s a combination of female anthems, hard rock and pop-y instrumentals, the score surprisingly works. Viewers are pumped when they need to be and relaxed when not. The sound quality transitions well between loud and quiet scenes—a rarity for comedies in the same vein.
Golden Arm is sure to become a classic. It’s fun, lightweight, and at roughly 90 minutes, never has a moment where it lags. Viewers are likely to find themselves engrossed in the absurd storyline, and will likely leave the theater wanting more from Bharoocha sooner rather than later.
Utopia Distribution will release GOLDEN ARM in theaters and Digital on April 30, 2021.