Orphans, Nuns, WWE, and MMA? What Could Possibly Go Wrong in Knucklehead?

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Knucklehead
Directed by Michael Watkins
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Opens October 22

A schmaltzy family comedy that won’t pass the smell test for kids, parents, or even stoner second cousins, Knucklehead is too sluggish for young attention spans, and not inventive enough to keep adults engaged. When an orphanage run by a nun (Wendy Malick) and Jan from The Office (Melora Hardin) is almost burned down by orphan-turned-hapless handyman Walter (WWE star Paul Wight), they have seven days to raise 25 grand for repairs. Meanwhile, a sketchy mixed-martial-arts manager named Eddie (Mark Feuerstein) is desperate to come up with a fighter he can con out of a huge championship purse. Eddie meets all 7 feet and 440 pounds of the congenitally meek Walter by crazy coincidence and, with some nunly coaxing, persuades him to kick some remunerative ass. Walter fights a bear, a crazy dad, and a fleet of frat boys on the amateur circuit, winning mostly by default; the man is literally too big to fail. TV veteran Michael Watkins directs, and sub-sitcom humor prevails—every comic beat seems to have arrived from an echo chamber that hosted its last laugh in 1974. Which is, incidentally, the year wrestler Alex Karras knocked out a horse and stole the show in Blazing Saddles.

 
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