A down and out woman finds her calling in the most unexpected of things in this sometimes raucous comedy from director Paul Leyden.
Anna is a café owner who is down and out. Her business is failing, she has had her car repossessed, and she is completely miserable. She learns that her father Ed has been seeing another man after the death of her mother. When Anna and her best friend, police officer Charleen, spend the night smoking in Anna’s café, Anna mistakenly burns down the business. Now completely having basically nothing, Anna feels completely depressed. Charleen introduces to Anna something she has planned.
With help from the tough as nails Bear, Charleen has set up an underground fight ring for women who need to let their aggressions out and have been in situations similar to Anna’s. Anna doesn’t know how to fight and gets choked out in her first fight. Charleen introduces her to Murphy, a former boxing coach who since being out of the game, resorts to getting drunk at the local bars. Murphy teaches Anna how to fight as Anna makes the mistake of challenging the current club champion, art gallery owner Olivia. Will Anna be able to rise to the challenge or will Olivia make mincemeat out of the rookie?
This is quite a comedy about a down and out woman who is on her last legs and finds her eventual calling at an underground fight club. While the story of Anna’s redemption seems promising, the major issue is that the film has to rely on certain jokes that just aren’t really necessary for this brand of comedy. Granted, it is great to have LGBTQ characters in the film, but there are those stereotypical jokes within the community that really don’t need to be there and I agree with Anna’s constant reactions to said jokes.
Despite those little beats, this is still a fun redemption film that continues to show Malin Akerman’s prowess to combine comedy and fighting much like last year’s The Sleep Over. Akerman has the chops to chew the scenery in whatever role she’s given and here, she does a great job at going from completely down and out to finding redemption through fighting although the road is slow. Her main nemesis is played by Bella Thorne, who as Olivia, shows her mettle in the ring but shows a double sided of both respect and that conceited vibe as the champion.
Alec Baldwin makes the most of his time as the drunkard Murphy, who becomes Anna’s mentor in fighting and well respected ally while Kevin Connolly somewhat plays a potential love interest in Dr. Pat, the medical practitioner who is the brother of co-fight club founder Bear, played by comedian Fortune Feimster. Dulce Sloan and Kevin Nash play LGBTQ characters Charleen and Ed, the former happy with herself and is part of the raunchy jokes while Nash’s Ed starts up a relationship with attorney Chuck, played by the underrated Alec Mapa of Crazy Rich Asians and Grand-Daddy Day Care fame.
Kudos goes to Shauna Galligan, who served as the film’s stunt coordinator and fight choreographer. Despite some technical issues of using extreme closeups and quick cuts, there are beats that show some good long shots and slow-motion impact shots. Marissa Labog plays it off nicely as Anna’s first opponent Carol, a timid librarian who uses that timidity as a ruse when she knocks out Anna with a leg scissor choke hold. While Akerman and Thorne are doubled for certain moves, the characters still look good.
Chick Fight is not a bad film but it’s best to focus more on the story of redemption for our lead character and less on the stereotypical LGBTQ raunchy jokes. Nevertheless, this is a film worth taking a look.
WFG RATING: B-
Quiver Distribution presents a Yale Productions film in association with Media Finance Capital, Idiot Savant Pictures, Do More Productions, Jesse James Films, SSS Entertainment, and Chevale Entertainment. Director: Paul Leyden. Producers: Malin Akerman, Jordan Beckerman, Ash Christian, Anne Clements, Frances Lausell, Jordan Yale Levine, and Michael J. Rothstein. Writer: Joseph Downey; story by Hope Bryant. Cinematography: Steven Holleran. Editing: Kevin Armstrong.
Cast: Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne, Alec Baldwin, Dulce Sloan, Kevin Connolly, Fortune Feimster, Kevin Nash, Alec Mapa, Alexia Barlier, Mariana Paola Vicente, Nicol Paone.