Review Date: June 01, 2005
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman
Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Penny Marshall
Russell Crowe as Jim
Renee Zellweger as Mae
Paul Giamatti as Joe
Truly, the movie offered zero surprises or real obstacles along the way, so even though everything in the movie looked authentic, its pacing was never dull and the boxing sequences were energetic and fun (with a great turn by Craig Bierko…I love that guy…give him more parts!!), at the end of the day, I don’t think many audience members will be taken aback by much of what occurs in this movie, hence the lack of emotional investment—at least, from my part. That said, I wasn’t completely out of the film, as a couple of scenes did touch me, as the film’s score, and the surprising directing by Howard, managed to pull me into a few sequences, but I certainly wasn’t standing up in my seat and hollering for Braddock during the film’s final (and quite elongated) fight. Even Giamatti, who’s great as the cornerman with the million-and-one one-liners, was a little too predictable with his comebacks, and a subplot with Paddy Considine is sadly, underdeveloped. All that said, I’m still scoring the film pretty high because ultimately I was entertained, enjoyed Crowe’s performance, as well as the film’s music, look and feel, and Zellweger wasn’t in the film too much to annoy me. I don’t see how anyone could actually “hate” a movie like this, since it’s based on a true-life inspirational tale that comes across very well, but ultimately, for someone like myself, I appreciate films with a little more diversity, originality and surprise, much of which, this movie simply did not have (unlike flashbulbs, of which it had way too many!). It should also have been released in the fall, not the summer.
Note: Director Ron Howard’s dad, Rance, and brother, Clint, both have small roles as a ring announcer and a referee in this film, respectively.