Fight. Fight. Fight.
Merchant is probably the most authentic filmmaker you would get. Only because, he is a consumer at first. He breathes his fanboy moments onto papers that makes each mundane moment cinematic. He makes things look easy, familiar but easy. All his learned and adapted methods, on how to communicate with the viewers, from film itself, gives you a satisfying Friday night out feeling. He is not bringing anything new on the table, but is also smart enough to know what the audience wants and delivers a safe adored content on screen.
Is he taking risks? Probably not. Should he? Definitely not, if this works just fine. All his projects has had the essence of his vocab. The command over the language of Stephen Merchant; the writer-director, is both quirky and heartwarming. He has been selling this ever-working product for ages and it still holds up for its excellent quality. He works on detailings of the moment. Swooping in on all the angles possible, in a situation, he makes sure his world is diplomatic.
He accounts in every angle of a sequence, every perspective of the character, he gives them enough space to justify their deeds. This real life based comedy-drama maps out the tremendous amount of variations or fluctuations, one goes through, when he or she goes “big shot” and fame hits right on the face. Jolting down that very note is where Merchant’s target lies. After which the cast brings in their magic in the ring. This eerie mixture of cast is a delight to watch, from their chemistry to their synced body language, they are just simply convincing.
Florence Pugh playing the infamous Saraya Knight or more commonly known as “Paige” has done an excellent work on conjuring the both physical and emotional aspects of her characters. Lena Headey and Nick Frost are protective and fairly negligent parents that we all can easily resonate with. Jack Lowden cloaking on the most complex character is convincing and also a big dose of electric charge when alone in screen, the bar fight is brilliantly shot and performed. Dwayne Johnson has done a great comic cameo where he is set loose with confidence by Merchant and there are no regrets.
Shockingly, Vince Vaughn as the coach of Pugh has much more to give than we would have expected, presumably since he is never sharing the screen with anyone, he is all on his own, brooding and inspiring his past for a better future. As mentioned, all the physical sequences are shot with well choreographed and multiple angle cameras that makes it look more exhilarating and profound of what they call it “fixed but not a fake” fight. The textbook structure of the script never grows into the culprit, it is entertaining even when Merchant is pulling off a montage sequence of the training our protagonist goes through. Fighting With My Family is like a big dinner at Christmas evening, it has few laughs and tears and bickerings, and in the end, is just pure fun.