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film review

Actor David Arquette's obsession with professional wrestling is the subject of the new documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

  • You Cannot Kill David Arquette
  • Directed by David Darg and Price James
  • Featuring David Arquette, Courtney Cox and Patricia Arquette
  • Classification R; 91 minutes


2.5 out of 4 stars

Brutal honesty and even-more-brutal violence collide with the impact of a dozen body-slams in the new wrestling documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette. Shot over the course of two years, the film follows the fascinating and dangerous obsession that the actor, best known for his role in the Scream franchise, has with the world of professional (and scarily amateur) wrestling. But though the doc is candid about the actor’s flailing career and the physical stakes of getting inside a ring, the doc regrettably misses an opportunity to explore the blurred lines of fact and fantasy that the WWE itself is built upon.

For those who haven’t tracked Arquette’s career since, say, 2011′s Scream 4, there might be a glimmer of surprise that the actor has made a (somewhat reviled) name for himself on the wrestling circuit. What started off as a promotional stunt for his long-forgotten 2000 comedy Ready to Rumble has turned into a full-blown commitment for Arquette, who is seeking the fame and rabid fanbase that Hollywood simply hasn’t bestowed upon him. (“At the present time, my career is pretty crappy,” he says to the camera.)

Arquette's affilliation with pro wrestling began with a promotional stunt for the 2000 film Ready to Rumble.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

This path gets very dark very quickly, with candid interviews from Arquette's actress sister Patricia and his ex-wife Courtney Cox revealing highly uncomfortable insights. Then there are the injuries that David inflicts upon his body, the societal embarrassment he undergoes in pursuit of his dream, and the backlash from more purist wrestling fans, who aren't too keen on welcoming an actor into their world of, um, actors.

It is riveting, deeply depressing stuff – and would be more engaging if co-directors David Darg and Price James had decided to explore the many similarities that movie-making and wrestling share, such as their devotion to putting on a highly fictional show. Instead, the pair mostly ignore that thematic angle in favour of brutal action and light comedy. Still, the film leaves a bruise as large as those stomped onto Arquette’s chest. Call it Scream 5: Ring of Terror.

You Cannot Kill David Arquette is available digitally on-demand starting Aug. 28

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