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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Punch (review)

Topless female boxing. There you go. This bizarre, would-be literary exploration of incestuous father-daughter attraction, anger management, and women beating the crap out of each other while their particulars flap in the wind is actually nowhere near as salacious as it sounds but nowhere near as interesting as it could have been, either. Troubled teen Ariel (Sonja Bennett) is upset that her widower dad, Sam (Michael Riley), is dating again, and she plays out her resentment though awkward sexual passes at him, which he — and the film — indulges far too much for comfort, and propositioning, in an unintentionally hilariously blunt manner, her French tutor. Ariel also punches people she doesn’t like, such as Dad’s new girlfriend, Mary (Marcia Laskowski) — Dad’s attempts to patch things up fail miserably, probably because he calmly and unapologetically says things like “We were doing very well until my daughter assaulted you.” Meanwhile, grafted onto this sorry tale are the topless-boxing adventures of Julie (Meredith McGeachie), Mary’s sister, which are about angry women taking out their aggression on other women in the ring while, metaphorically, they’d really rather be punching the leering idiots cheering them on. You might expect that Ariel would eventually solve her problems in the ring — if she’d bare her breasts to Dad, surely a bunch of drunks wouldn’t faze her — but no. Instead, writer/director Guy Bennett tries to put a legitimate veneer on that staple of B movies: the knock-down, hair-pulling, fully clothed catfight. Girlfight it ain’t.

MPAA: rated R for language, nudity and sexual content

viewed at home on a small screen

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