‘They’re Just My Friends’


Cruiserweight boxing champion “Punchin’ Pat” Nwamu has lived enough excitement for 10 movies, and in his writing, producing, and starring debut (as himself) he’s filmed all of them at once with very little success. They’re Just My Friends follows Nwamu beyond the ring as he deals with the Mafia, nearly kills a man in a bar fight, and orders a gangland assassination; if Nwamu’s claim that “it’s all based on real events” is accurate, he’s surely implicated himself in countless crimes. Nwamu, a self-proclaimed “modern-day renaissance man,” has basically crafted a 130-minute infomercial for his skills as a pugilist and lover: The size of his genitals is twice the topic of breathless conversation. Some of his talents, it seems, are bigger than others. Nwamu’s real-world struggles and accomplishments are nothing to laugh about, but director Attika J. Torrence’s versions of them frequently are, particularly Punchin’ Pat’s association with a mysterious and all-powerful “Lodge” that keeps bailing him out of trouble and whose previous reclamation project was the French Revolution. For such a poorly made autobiopic to earn a theatrical release, Nwamu must have some friends in high places.