Golden Arm (USA, 2021)

Two friends find their calling in an arm-wrestling comedy in this funny comedy from director Maureen Bharoocha.

Melanie is not having a good day. She has always been seen as someone with zero confidence. However, her upbeat friend Danny has always been by her side and comes up with a crazy idea that may give Melanie the boost she’s long needed. Danny, a trucker, used to spend her days on the road competing in arm wrestling matches. She believes Melanie could become an arm wrestler and compete in an upcoming tournament.

Melanie at first struggles during training but soon finds herself ready. As Melanie finds her stride and proves herself to be a worthy competitor, she finally finds love in the form of referee Greg. However, the biggest threat of the tournament is Brenda, the Bone Crusher. Melanie finds herself to be a viable threat for Brenda, who fears she may lose her Grand Slam title. As Melanie gets closer to the finals, a desperate Brenda attempts to do what it takes to win. Who will come out on top?

One thing I love is the underdog film and this is without a doubt, an underdog film. However, the film has a lot of heart and will bring to mind the 1987 classic Over the Top when it comes to the sport of arm wrestling. The film also has the case of female empowerment and has the distinction of being a buddy comedy as well because if there is a major positive in the film, it’s the duo of Mary Holland and Betsy Sodaro as BFFs Melanie and Danny respectively.

The chemistry between Holland and Sodaro is top notch. On the one hand, Holland’s Melanie is the ultimate underdog while Sodaro’s Danny is the outspoken one who never lets up. Olivia Stambouliah is this film’s Rick Zumwalt, the big bad champion. However, she is a combination of Zumwalt’s “Bull Hurley” and Sensei John Kreese. Yes, when things don’t go her way, she does resort to dirty tactics. On the upside, we see Melanie not just gain confidence, but find love with Greg, played by Eugene Cordero.

The arm-wrestling scenes are well done. They take both a comic and serious edge to the film. In a very pivotal scene, we see how Melanie really emerging from this shy underdog to the confident combatant that has the competitors dressed up like as they were part of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling factory. Of course, the film gets a bit predictable with the finale, but the way it sets up is absolutely hilarious.

Golden Arm is a wild funny female-cast meshing of GLOW and Over the Top thanks to the chemistry of Mary Holland and Betsy Sodaro. This is a hilarious underdog story and it is all around fun.

WFG RATING: A-

Utopia Releasing presents a Golden Arm production in association with No. 8 Films and The Ranch Productions. Director: Maureen Bharoocha. Producer: Geeta Bajaj. Writers: Ann Marie Allison and Jenna Milly. Cinematography: Chris Messina. Editing: Grant McFadden.

Cast: Mary Holland, Betsy Sodaro, Olivia Stambouliah, Eugene Cordero, Dot-Marie Jones, Dawn Luebbe, Ron Funches, Aparna Nancherla, Ahmed Bharoocha, Kate Flannery, Veronique Parker.

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