DVD Release Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
After the disappointment of 2011’s “Inside Out,” director Artie Mandelberg and writer Dylan Schaffer took a much different direction for his second effort with WWE Studios. “Bending the Rules” is a cross between crime caper and buddy comedy, with WWE Hall of Famer Adam “Edge” Copeland and actual Son of the Mask Jamie Kennedy.
Copeland plays Nick Blades (terrible name), a New Orleans police officer that is a little bit unorthodox. I mean he wears Hawaiian shirts, beads, shorts, and flip-flops while he works. Isn’t that wacky?! He’s currently being prosecuted by assistant district attorney Theo Gold (Kennedy), a no-nonsense by-the-book goober that nobody likes. Whoever envisioned Kennedy playing someone that everybody hates, well, that’s just good casting.
Theo’s mother is Lena Gold (Jessica Walter of “Arrested Development”), a former film star that Blades happens to adore. His father is Herb Gold (the too-good-for-this-movie Philip Baker Hall), who is staring down Alzheimer’s but still likes to drive his classic car around town.
When that car gets stolen, Theo reports the theft to the police. However, the police are not so eager to help him, since he’s prosecuting one of their own. Blades ends up feeling bad for Theo, and agrees to help him find the car, since he thinks it’s part of a bigger, more nefarious scheme.
This sets up the odd couple buddy comedy, or if any Vince Russo era wrestling fans are watching wresting, it’s the old “wacky tag team partners who hate each other” motif. This only really works when both members of the team are perceived on a similar level. While Copeland is certainly no Olivier, but he was able to translate enough of his charisma as a wrestler into this performance. For a first film role, he’s not bad. Kennedy on the other hand, is dull at best and annoying at worst.
The supporting cast is pretty solid, and helps elevate the mediocre material. Walter and Hall can get laughs in numerous different ways, Jennifer Esposito and Alicia Witt also have small but key roles as Garcia, a police officer always willing to help Blades, and Rosalyn Wohl, Theo’s attorney.
All in all, “Bending the Rules” isn’t a horrible film. Fans of Edge should get some enjoyment out of it, and it’s okay for a straight-to-video production. If they had just cast someone slightly more appealing than Jamie Kennedy, they may have had something.