Untold: Jake Paul the Problem Child (2023) Review – A problematic documentary for a problematic personality

A problematic documentary for a problematic personality

Jake Paul is undoubtedly one of the most hated fighters and personalities in the world today. But that also makes him one hell of a clever promoter. Leaning into his “problem child” persona, many would agree that Jake Paul has helped financially lift boxing from a dire position. However, in doing so some would argue it’s also tarnished boxing’s reputation forever. Whether you love him or hate him, Jake Paul undoubtedly fills arenas.

Untold’s latest documentary takes a look at Jake Paul’s rise to infamy, but at only 70 minutes it’s not a particularly in-depth analysis. It’s also riddled with inaccuracies and clever editing to paint Paul as this misunderstood antihero rather than shedding light and highlighting some of the more controversial parts of his past.

The opening segments of the film tackle Paul’s rise to Influencer status. “I remember when they made the word “influencer”, that was us. They were talking about us”. Says Jake proudly at one point. Only… that’s not true. Jake Paul started on Vine in 2013 but the Influencer phenomenon actually began way back in 2009 with Alfie Deyes, Tanya Zoella, PewDiePie etc.

This is just one example of that misinformation but the film continues this tone with a distinct lack of dates to put things into a consistent timeline. The majority of the film follows Paul’s boxing career, which feels like a clever promotional ploy, especially given Jake Paul’s upcoming fight with Nate Diaz.

While there is objective criticism here, it’s levelled predominantly through TV snippets or little soundbites from personalities in studios rather than talking head interviews. To be fair, there’s a couple of interviews with the Fury family, and one in particular with Paul’s adviser Nakisa Bidarian, which are interesting but these are few and far between.

What’s particular amusing here is the constant recurring criticism that Jake Paul is only facing former pro-boxers or UFC fighters – something he himself acknowledges. To combat that, the film builds up to the climactic fight with Tommy Fury…and brushes over the fact that Paul’s next boxing fight is against *checks notes* a UFC star.

The biggest problem with this documentary is that there’s definitely a deeper story to tell here. A lot of the early days drama with Jake Paul is completely brushed over. His rise to Influencer infamy is almost relegated to a montage, save for one discussion about sponsorship rates, and then we’re straight into the larger-than-life persona that entered boxing. And, of course, along the way we completely brush over the allegations that were levelled against him.

Untold: Jake Paul the Problem Child isn’t a bad documentary per-se, it’s just not a particularly thorough or revealing one either. This is basically a fluffy piece, full of mistruths and distortion of the truth. 

Jake Paul is undoubtedly a great promoter and he plays the role of the villain perfectly. He’s a smart guy and knows exactly how to fill arenas, and there’s certainly no question that he’s worked hard to build that larger-than-life persona. It’s just a shame that that same hard work didn’t go into crafting a decent, objective documentary about the guy.

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  • Verdict - 4/10

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