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paper champions


director: Jo-anne Brechin (zelos)

starring: luke saliba, tessa de josselin, john tui and david fane

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A reserved, routine-loving photocopier salesman is desperate to experience true love despite having lost his mana.

Shopping local is key in 2020, the year of Covid. And even though Paper Champions isn't exactly Kiwi it stars some of our best acting talent and was made just across the ditch. Paper Champions is a breezy, sweet, entertaining film with moments of great hilarity.

Rey is a regular guy, working a regular job, living a regular life. After spending 10 years in a job he doesn’t like, he realises all of his skills can be summed up in a pamphlet. A surge of inspiration causes Rey to quit, forcing him further outside his comfort zone than he's ever ventured before.

Slowly, Rey's life begins to take shape, but not without the help of his old work colleague and best mate Wade: a big man, with an even bigger heart. After a backyard rugby incident involving Wade’s cousins, Rey is rushed to the local clinic where he meets Holly.

In a quirky and loveable story, Rey must rely on a Polynesian family, a Spanish dance teacher, an ex-wrestler, and all of his friends to help him find his Mana, win Holly's affection and become the Paper Champion.

We've seen elements of Paper Champions before in films like Napoleon Dynamite and Eagle v Shark - the loveable loser who must triumph over himself to show his community that he is really a champ.

But its Paper Champions dedication to developing its characters that makes it stand out from all the films like it that have gone before. From Ray's best mate Wade to the lovable patriarch Kenife, Paper Champions has built a world and story that is not only believable but thoroughly entertaining.

There are plenty of laugh out loud moments from Linda's 'resurrection' to Rey's visit to the doctors, Paper Champions brings the chuckles more often than not.

Who knew that John Tui could do comedy? The dude is hilarious and its superb to see David Fane back with his one liners that had me cracking up every time.

Paper Champions is a breezy, sweet, entertaining film with moments of great hilarity.


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