NOW that the awards season is finally over it will be at least five minutes before the hype starts for the next one. Into this peaceful gap stomps Fighting with My Family, a marriage of Brit grit and American schmaltz that is not destined to trouble the Academy but is a likeable slice of entertainment. Think Rocky in Spandex.

Written and directed by Stephen Merchant (Extras, The Office), this is the based on a true story tale of a family from Norwich who have hopes of one of their number going to America, home of World Wrestling Entertainment, and making it big.

The Knight family, parents Ricky and Julia (Nick Frost, Lena Headey) and their son and daughter Saraya and Zak (Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden), operate at the less glamorous end of the wrestling business. The family is barely getting by, and dad fears he might have go back to his old thieving ways.

Merchant skips lightly over dad’s past, giving Frost a lot of good lines early on to help the audience warm to him, and sets up the main tale. WWE are coming to the UK and inviting British wrestlers to try out for the big money US circuit. Saraya and Zak put their names forward, with the latter widely agreed to be a shoo-in because he has dreamed of nothing else since anyone could remember.

What comes next will hardly knock you off your feet with surprise, but it is all done engagingly enough, with Merchant’s sarky British humour balancing out the sugariness of the story. Florence Pugh looks and wrestles the part as the kick-ass Saraya, whose name is changed to Paige to make her more audience-friendly in the US. Lowden does some heavy lifting as the disappointed brother struggling to accept the way things have turned out.

Merchant, who wrote and directed Cemetery Junction with Ricky Gervais, does a nice job of flying solo. He keeps the picture jogging along at a steady pace before ramping up the action when the tale transfers to the States. It helps with access that the film is made by WWE Studios, and that WWE superstar turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a producer.

Johnson makes several appearances as himself, and Vince Vaughn joins the cast as “Hutch”, former wrestler turned WWE talent picker and trainer. Merchant’s humour lends itself well to Vaughn’s cynical style.

The lighter tone goes AWOL towards the end, which makes for an awkward stretch. Merchant does not hang about to resolve matters convincingly, preferring instead to make a lurch back to feelgood territory. He has an ending to put together, and throws himself into it as if to the sporting entertainment manor born.