The Reel Review
Mild-mannered Mel is in the middle of a divorce and is struggling to keep her bakery afloat. When Danny, her rowdy, truck driving, arm wrestling best friend discovers Mel has a hidden talent, off they go to Oklahoma City to win the Women’s National Arm Wrestling Championship and save Mel’s business, in this buddy comedy.
This charming story of female empowerment from screenwriters Anne Marie Allison and Jenna Milly is reminiscent of the Netflix women’s pro wrestling series GLOW, with a dash of Bridesmaids. It’s consistently quirky and funny without making fun of its characters. Mary Holland (Happiest Season) and Betsy Sodaro, with her likably loud John Belushi-ness, have great on-screen chemistry. The fun ensemble cast includes Dot-Marie Jones (Glee), comedian Aparna Nancherla and Kate Flannery (Meredith from The Office).
As predictable and hokey as it is, Golden Arm is a sweet, silly story about enduring friendship and pushing one another to overcome fears and gain self-confidence. The evolution of the personas Mel creates for herself during the big competition is also pretty hilarious. Despite a semi-sluggish midsection, Golden Arm rallies to end with a rousing, big, badass takedown.
• Golden Arm director Maureen Bharoocha previously was a segment director for Jimmy Kimmel Live. Her brother and writing partner Ahmed appears in Golden Arm as Jerry, the competition assistant.
• Not only did comedian Mary Holland co-star in 2020’s Happiest Season. She also co-wrote the script with its director, Clea DuVall.
• Golden Arm was filmed in Oklahoma City.