Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mal Dia Para Pescar (Bad Day to Go Fishing)

Bad Day to Go Fishing has an endearing quality to it.  We meet the over-sized but lovable Jacob van Oppen, who once held the title "the strongest man on Earth," and his charmingly sleazy promoter and manager, "Prince" Orsini (it's never quite clear what he is the prince of. . . .) as they travel around South America setting up wrestling matches and exhibitions in small towns.  Armed with a scrapbook full of reports of Jacob's laurels and feats, Orsini tries to raise funds for challenge matches, offering $1000 for anyone who can stay in the ring with Jacob for 3 minutes.  As Orsini fishes for the right challenger (i.e., someone who's willing to throw the fight for a cut), his relationship with Jacob deteriorates, Jacob questions this lifestyle, and a pregnant young wife who thinks her husband can beat Jacob challenges their scheme.
Jacob and Orsini promoting the upcoming "fight."
I found myself embracing these characters, as well as the small-town life depicted.  Anyone whose glory days are past, athletic or otherwise, can relate to both Jacob and Orsini, who clearly had some notoriety and wealth at one time.  As it turns out, the actor who plays Jacob, Finnish strong man Jouko Ahola, was actually the "World's Strongest Man" in 1997 and 1999.  (See his web site here.)  So I guess a real-life strongest man on Earth, when his glory days are gone by, stars in a movie about a strongest man on Earth whose glory days have gone by.

This is a decent, enjoyable movie with likable characters and a strong finish. 

Bottom line, 2 1/2 stars.

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