And the supporting cast, specifically Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood in the only two major supporting roles, are basically the same way: they do their job, but there's nothing special about them whatsoever
I was just listening to Kermode's review and I thought he made a really great point about Tomei that I really hadn't considered. He says that she's vital to the film because she is an example of a performer who understands that she's not quite what she used to be and is able to seperate the performance aspect from her personal life, something that Randy clearly hasn't been able to achieve.
I was disappointed by the lack of back-story in this film. All you English Lit majors (I am also one) out there might tell me that more back-story = more boring. But I didn't have enough info to be fully invested in the story. Where is Stephanie's mom? Why did The Ram "fall from grace"? Was he simply too beaten up to continue wrestling during the 90s, or was there some kind of downfall?
Considering the fact that he was big in the mid-80s, and I have no reason to believe the film takes place in any time but the present, I think it's pretty safe to assume that he's just gotten too old. I don't watch wrestling much these days but it seems that the options for the older stars are pretty limited and for someone without any other skills, it's the only thing he knows how to do well. If they make it back to the big leagues, it's generally nothing more than a nostalgia grab (see Hulk Hogan or any of the numerous wrestlers that the WWE has brought back in recent years that can't match the physicality of today's stars). I don't necessarily think that more back-story would've been boring, I just don't think it's necessary at all. How would knowing more about her mother add to the story? I'm glad that the story allowed me to fill in the blanks about what happened to his career and life.