Signature Move (CIFF 2017)

Sometimes, a bland subject matter can be spiced up by playing around with the various ingredients. For instance, a lightweight romance between two people that develops pretty quickly and has very little conflict doesn’t make for an interesting story. Make them lesbians, make one of them Pakistani and one Mexican, throw in pro wrestling and an overbearing mother, and maybe, just maybe, you can make that story work. I mean, Signature Move can’t, but maybe someone else can.

The problem is that, at its core, it’s still a romance with two people who obviously love each other and only have one cause of conflict between them—and it doesn’t even once seem like that’s going to be enough to stop them from being together. The characters aren’t particularly interesting—they’re archetypes you’ve seen countless times—and their story winds up being every “parent doesn’t want their kid to do something, kid does it anyway, parent may or may not come around at the end” story ever, just this time with a lesbian romance.

There isn’t enough to differentiate it, there isn’t enough in-movie conflict or intrigue to hold our attention, and most of the acting is very surface-level at best. The best performance comes from Shabana Azmi as the mother of the protagonist, played by Fawzia Mirza. Sari Sanchez plays the romantic interest. The wrestling isn’t great, either, for whatever that’s worth. There are some laughs, but Signature Move isn’t very interesting.

Conclusion: Signature Move tells a basic story you’ve seen before.

Recommendation: Even if you’re interested in either pro wrestling or gay romance, Signature Move isn’t worthwhile.

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