After ten years of backyard wrestling, Reggie (Danny Mac) and his friend Maurice (Chris Wilcox) aren’t even remotely close to becoming the professional wrestlers they hope to be. Not that that has stopped them, as they’re both convinced they have what it takes. Instead of spending their time training, they use it to smoke pot, drink, and play wrestling video games. Reggie’s brother Jared (Matthew Graham) is tired of seeing Reggie live off their mother (Pam Kearns), so he challenges the two “athletes” to join a wrestling school. If they succeed, they’ll be able to follow their dreams, but if they fail, they’ll have to stop wrestling around in the backyard and get real jobs. Reggie and Maurice accept the challenge, and are immediately in for trouble when they realize they’re nowhere near ready for the squared circle.

Directed by Ian MacDougall and Danny Mac, who also writes this mockumentary, Heel Kick is a surprisingly emotional film. Just reading the synopsis should get a laugh, and the humour fills the film, typically at the expense of Reggie, but you may be shocked at how much you come to love Reggie and Maurice over the course of the film.

That love doesn’t come easy though. It’s initially hard to like anybody in the movie. Reggie is obviously not a great wrestler, but he’s so oblivious to this fact, and so filled with ego, that you kind of want to slap him at first. Documentary director Roger (Cooper Bibaud) is also an annoying, egotistical character at the start. He thinks this is all beneath him, and spends a good chunk of his time insulting Reggie and Maurice. His crew thinks the entire thing is a joke, and aren’t afraid to point out how boring the movie is going to wind up being.

Despite the huge character flaws, you can’t help but root for Reggie and Maurice to succeed. When they begin training at the wrestling school, headed up by Scotty Mac playing himself, not only are the laughs increased, but the urge to see them win as well. Heel Kick finds its strength once Reggie and Maurice are knocked down a peg and understand that it’s going to take honest hard work to achieve their goals.

The two wrestling lovers actually start to get a little better, but it’s Maurice who really stands out. Bigger and stronger than Reggie, Maurice finds it much easier to keep up with the demands of wrestling, and Reggie begins to get a little jealous. While the film finds its heart when the wrestling begins, Mac and Wilcox also get to stretch their acting chops. At first, their characters are rather one note stoners. Slowly, Mac gets to take his character from overconfident slacker to hardworking and humble. Wilcox is on the opposite side, building his shy character Maurice into a person who seems like he’s finally found what he’s good at in life, giving him the confidence he’s never had.

The friendship of Maurice and Reggie suffers some strained moments, but you can tell they’ll always be friends, no matter what. Mac and Wilcox do fantastic jobs in these roles, making us believe fully in the journey they take. Heel Kick does suffer a setback late in the film, although to what extent is going to depend on the viewer. In order to hit the mark of all great sports documentaries, you know there has to be some sort of career threatening moment, and it kind of zips in and deflates the highly emotional moments that Heel Kick offers. It doesn’t take the wind out of the sails for too long, but there was a part of me that wished these moments had been toned down. There was something about them that just didn’t feel right within the film. The idea is solid, but the execution didn’t feel true to who Reggie and Maurice were.

Ultimately, Heel Kick gets back on track to become an incredibly entertaining, hilarious, and heartfelt film about two slackers just trying to follow their dreams. Surrounded by smaller characters to accentuate the laughs, like the hilarious Naiah Cummins as Mona, the woman who Reggie loves even if she doesn’t quite feel the same towards him, and Pam Kearns as Reggie’s mom, things never really slow down in terms of laughs. It’s not the comedy that make Heel Kick a winner though. It’s the well written script that builds believable characters that you really want to see succeed.

This is a perfect example of why people should pay more attention to Canadian film, and it’s definitely a film you should check out, and you’ve got a chance as Heel Kick screens on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at The Royal. Check their website for more information, and don’t miss out on this amazing film.

Heel Kick Trailer