When Rey was a kid, he always had dreams of taking on the world as a professional wrestler. But in the present day, Rey (Luke Saliba) has ended up on a very different path. Rey works behind a desk selling photocopy machines along selling general stationery supplies to locals. Rey also works with his long-time best friend, Wade (John Tui), who is always quite encouraging towards Rey.
But in life Rey seems deflated and defeated. Even his best friend claims that Rey has lost his Mana. Supposing you are not familiar with the term, according to Google, Mana is the spiritual life force energy or healing power that permeates the universe in the culture of the Melanesians and Polynesians.
With Rey feeling down and lacking Mana, his friends and even his family are now all trying to help. They help by getting Rey to participate in several activities such as playing football, giving tips on how to dance and even offering advice on how to act around the ladies. One of these activities leads Rey to meet a young nurse who he wishes to pursue a new friendship with. Rey eventually questions his long-life dreams of becoming a wrestler.
Paper Champions is a feel-good comedy, and to my surprise, this film is also filled with heartfelt moments as Rey begins to rediscover himself as a grown man. The film is family-friendly, and I enjoyed how the film was able to be fun, random, witty and deliver well-timed jokes to the screen. Rey, as a character, is mainly quiet and shy, but his family and friends around him are certainly outgoing and full of energy which is perfect for Rey’s current situation in life.
As a plot, I found myself quite engaged with the story and perhaps maybe even found it relatable. At no point did I find this film dull or uninteresting, and I was invested in seeing how Rey’s life would turn out at the end of this film. Once I started the movie, I had to know how this film would end. It undoubtedly hooked me because of the plot and I watched this film with a smile.
Overall, this film truly surprised me. It is a heartfelt comedy about a man who has lost his way in life but has the determination to rediscover himself. The humour here is family-friendly, and I appreciated this type of witty humour. It did not take long for me to feel invested in this film based on the film’s plot and characters, but also because I found the film to be fun and brainless. It’s a solid Australian film and I wish we had more films like it!
Paper Champions (2020) is Now Available on DVD!
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Review Written by Peter Walkden