Beyond The Mat
R
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2 1/2

Often criticized for its outrageous antics, professional wrestling is a growing phenomenon in American culture. New fans continue to flock to it like never before. In this documentary, writer/director Barry Blaustein takes a look at the personal lives of some popular wrestlers, and shows that these men are much more than the characters they portray. Jake the Snake Roberts, one of the most popular wrestlers in the 80s, has dropped out of sight since his heydays. But Blaustein finds him wrestling for little to no income at small shows in the Midwest. Terry Funk, one of the most popular wrestlers of all time and known for his tendency to push the envelope in the ring, at 53 is nearing retirement. Blaustein also follows a wrestler named Mick Foley, currently part of the WWF and better known as Mankind. A best-selling author and a man who puts himself through tremendous amounts of pain, Foley has gained quite a following for his dramatic style. But away from wrestling, hes also a quiet family man. The film tends to drag a bit and could benefit from shortening. However, it is well done, often funny, and even emotional at times. Blaustein has crafted a fine documentary and audiences, especially wrestling fans, will appreciate the look BEYOND THE MAT.

The philosophy presented behind the success of the WWF is giving audiences whatever they want. This often amounts to putting out a product that usually appeals to the lowest common denominator of morality. However, this film is less about professional wrestling and more about the lives of men who do it for a living. Mick Foley is shown as a fine example of a father, noting that he cares deeply for his children. He often worries about their tendency to get scared when he is in a match. So much so, that he even entertains the idea of not wrestling. In contrast, Jake the Snake abandoned his wife and daughter long ago for fame and fortune. Now in the depths of despair, he tries to heal the damaged relationship with his daughter. In keeping with the subject, quite a bit of the sports violence is shown several times as men are beaten and bloodied in the ring. In the end, excessive violence and foul language put BEYOND THE MAT out of the acceptable arena.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Lions Gate Films, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 501, LA, CA 90036

Summary
Crude Language: Many (16) times - Mild 9, Moderate 7
Obscene Language: Many (25) times - F-word 16, s-word 7, other 2
Profanity: Many (10) times Regular 6 (J 1, G 1, JC 2, Good God 1, God Almighty 1); Exclamatory 4 (OG, OMG, MG 2)
Violence: Many times Mild and moderate (lots of professional wrestling footage portraying men being hit, kicked, beaten, thrown, and bloodied)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None; Near Nudity - Few times (female cleavage, man in underwear)
Homosexual Conduct: Once (reference to lesbianism)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Once (reference to unconventional sex)
Drug Abuse: Several times (smoking, alcohol, references to illegal drug use)
Other: Man shown vomiting repeatedly; man gives Christian prayer; philosophy of giving audience whatever they want
Running Time: 93 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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