Sunday, June 19, 2005

Cinderella Man

Rating: C

I was extremely excited about this movie. I mean, how could I not be? It's Ron Howard and Russell Crowe? Both are very good at what they do. They just miss the mark with this based on a true story. I think that the fact that this is a true story actually hurts this movie. If it was a fictional story, I think that I would have enjoyed it more. I'll get into that in a minute.

Cinderella Man is the story of James J Braddock, a Depresson-era boxer that had an incredible and unlikely comback series of fights in and around New York City in 1935. The story unfolds with Braddock at the top of his game in 1928. Following the stock market crash of 1929, Braddock's career hits the skids and he and his family are struggling to even stay warm. This is were the movie's best moments happen. Howard really captures the desperation felt by Braddock and his wife (Renee Zellweger Chesney - at her pouty best) and their 3 kids. Some of the film's most heartfelt moments are here when you see what Braddock does to try to provide for his family. If the film had stopped here, it would have been fine, but of course it wouldn't be a complete look at Braddock if we didn't see his comeback fights and his rise to being an unlikely champion.

You don't really get a sense of excitement during the fights like you did during say, Million Dollar Baby. The fights are shot very well, but there really is no umph to them. It's all most Rocky-esque with all the heavy blows landing on each fighter.

Russell Crowe does a fine job as usual, but the person who really steals this flick is Paul Giamatti. He has really come into his own as Braddock's pudgey manager Joe Gould. His emotion is right up there, and it really is a pleasure to watch. I am looking forward to seeing him in more work as the years go by.

To be honest with you, I liked the trailer for this more than the actual film. They did cut out one of the best parts of the trailer, which is always disappointing. I would probably wait for this to come out on DVD and then watch it when it comes out on cable. This movie will undoubtedly get Oscar consideration, but for me, the statue and your money should reside somewhere else.


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