Few others would have the metaphorical balls to combine a distinctly Canadian narrative with the theatrics of professional wrestling, a cheesy romance, and subtle but chuckle-worthy comedy, but if there’s one thing director Robert Cuffley possesses, it is ambition.
Set in small-town Saskatchewan, Chokeslam, Cuffley’s fourth feature film, tells the story of 28-year-old Corey Swanson (Chris Marquette), a deli clerk whose high-school sweetheart turned heartbreaker, Sheena DeWilde (Amanda Crew), returns home for their 10-year reunion. Moonlighting as a pro wres-tler who goes by the awkward stage name Smasheena, DeWilde is the yin to Swanson’s yang: loudmouthed, aggressive, and larger than life. Swanson, a hopelessly obsessed nerd who still lives with his overbearing mother, sees her homecoming as a chance to win her back by arranging her retirement match at a local venue. If you’re wondering how a movie set in a wee Prairie town has even a speck of credibility when it comes to pro wrestling, think again: along with real-life wres-tler Chelsea Green and former WWE wrestler Lance Storm, Cuffley legitimizes the film to a degree with the casting of WWE Hall of Famer Mick “Mankind” Foley. Though predic-table and at times slow to progress, Chokeslam makes for a strangely entertaining fusion of comedy, romance, and sport that stands out in a sea of repetitive rom-coms.
Village 8 Cinemas Theatre 6, December 1 (8:30 p.m.); Village 8 Cinemas Theatre 7, December 2 (1 p.m.)