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Awesome: 23.53%
Worth A Look56.62%
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Pretty Crappy: 15.44%
Sucks: 1.47%

13 reviews, 58 user ratings

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Cinderella Man
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by Elaine Perrone

"Raging Bull-shit."
2 stars

It seems particularly apt that a defining moment at the heart of Cinderella Man is a scene depicting a small girl with a sweet face and wide eyes being fed a slice of fried baloney – and begging for more.

I am as willingly susceptible to manipulation as the next person, when it's handled adroitly, but I thoroughly detest being jerked around for the sake of the easy sell – which the creative team behind Cinderella Man has foisted upon the moviegoing public, in spades.

Other reviewers have carped (justifiably) about Ron Howard’s pedestrian direction and the one-note characterizations of James and Mae Braddock that journeymen actors Russell Crowe and Renée Zellweger could as easily have phoned in. I won’t redundantly belabor the obvious here.

I don't specifically recall fellow critics’ comments about the period flavor and imagery of the movie, which I thought was just swell, although I found the look a little too manicured for my taste

What I find most disturbing about Cinderella Man is the complete demonization of Max Baer as a counterpoint to their canonization of James Braddock – a cheap ploy by the screenwriters (Cliff Hollingsworth, Akiva Goldsman) to get out of the work of creating characters of depth and nuance.

Max Baer (Craig Bierko) being such a pivotal character in the movie, it would in no way have detracted from Braddock's story, or accomplishment – and in fact would have enhanced it – to have portrayed Baer for what he was when he himself became champion: a hero to the Jewish people when he wore a Star of David on his trunks and defeated Hitler's favorite boxer, Max Schmeling.

Far from being the crude and bloodthirsty villain he is made out to be in Cinderella Man, Baer feared his own power and was devastated by the death of Frankie Campbell, for which he was cleared of manslaughter charges but banned from boxing for a year, after which he reluctantly returned to the ring and began his own losing streak.

I would love to have seen the more factual version of Cinderella Man in which the viewers were told of Braddock's historic defeat of Baer, the man who helped put Frankie Campbell's children through college and himself rallied to a remarkable comeback after being mentored by Jack Dempsey.

All that aside, I also completely detested the none-too-subtle characterization of Paddy Considine's character Mike Wilson, a union organizer and Communist sympathizer, as a wife-abusing lush.

Considine’s work is stellar, as is that of the always-welcome Bruce McGill as boxing promoter Jimmy Johnston and Paul Giamatti as Braddock’s loyal manager Joe Gould. The three veterans provide the film’s bright spots but, sadly, can’t quite salvage the whole, which is a soggy, sloppy, soapy mess.

I shudder to imagine what screenwriter Goldsman might be doing to two of my all-time favorite reads, "The Da Vinci Code" and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12400&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/03/05 13:23:39
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User Comments

6/22/10 Monday Morning Like Seabiscuit with two legs. Love the uplifting story - we need it now. 4 stars
12/18/09 Jeff Wilder Rocky with better acting. Million Dollar Baby/Raging Bull it's not. Still good. 4 stars
6/28/09 budo True story--well done 5 stars
9/02/08 Shaun Wallner Great film!! 5 stars
3/01/08 Pamela White Integrity and faith, hard road to travel 5 stars
1/02/08 Matt Great performance from Crowe and superbly filmed fight scenes. Excellent movie. 4 stars
12/09/07 mr.mike worth seeing , Crowe can play anything 4 stars
12/08/07 R.W.Welch Realistic depiction. Standout perf by Giamatti. 4 stars
12/21/06 Thomas Wynn Nice story, and good acting. 4 stars
11/24/06 Charlene Javier Crowe was brilliant as usual. 4 stars
11/23/06 Patsyc I really enjoyed this movie. Although I am not a boxing fan, I really liked the story. 4 stars
11/22/06 Tiffany Losco saw this with my parents, it was awesome. I really liked the story. 5 stars
11/17/06 annie The movie was good, Renee was great. 4 stars
10/05/06 Kara I can re-watch this over and over again, riviting 5 stars
9/17/06 daveyt very enjoyable, though my blockbuster dvd was scratced to hell...! 4 stars
8/17/06 Tom Conroy I think Zellwinger did a great job. Her accent was the most authentic 5 stars
8/09/06 drydock54321 a bit long but good 4 stars
8/06/06 JenDenmark Good movie, would recommend it for a Sunday evening. 4 stars
7/10/06 David Cohen Missed getting 5 stars for its awful slur against Max Baer 4 stars
5/23/06 Anthony Feor Had depth but, it is just like Rocky 4 stars
5/18/06 Phil M. Aficionado Would be 5 stars if they hadn't "hokeyed" up Max Baer so extremely 4 stars
5/14/06 Diane P this was great, attention to detail for the era was astounding, all actors tremendous 5 stars
3/31/06 Nobody The best movie of the year. Why was it forgotten at the oscars? 5 stars
1/29/06 WiseMan Somthing was missing. All in all the movie was very Enjoyable 5 stars
1/04/06 Dan Great Movie! 5 stars
1/03/06 Piz true story and a winner. One of the greats of 2005 5 stars
12/17/05 ownerofdajoint Good boxing scenes but evades the truth on the causes of the Depression.Opey sells out! 4 stars
12/11/05 joseph taylor boring and violent. the script and movie far far below "rocky'. poor imitation of it. 2 stars
10/01/05 Jonathon Holmes good movie, but its no "Million Dollar Baby" 4 stars
9/28/05 JOrdan it was bad make a new movie! 1 stars
9/25/05 Renee Zellweger's best performance yet Hope she wins an Oscar and isn't taking a dump when it's presented! 5 stars
9/21/05 Fritz One of Howard's worst. Typical schmaltzy sports movie crap. 2 stars
9/01/05 Teh Gret one Prety Ghey 1 stars
8/27/05 Quigley russell crowe ruled the movie. why did it not make as much $? i loved this movie. oscars! 5 stars
8/25/05 Nobody True story, good boxing scenes, a hero you like rooting for, half-decent accents. 5 stars
8/24/05 Heather Purplethorne Quite interesting story of a human Seabiscuit 4 stars
8/10/05 George Seaberg Superb! I don't cry in a movie, but I did here. There's another similar story out there 5 stars
7/26/05 Tina Lawrimore Loved it! The best movie I have seen so far this yr. 5 stars
7/14/05 Lesle I forgot how much I hate boxing flicks 3 stars
7/10/05 Brian Feiler A movie with class and heart. Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger should be oscar contenders 5 stars
7/04/05 rocky i thought this movie was awesome 5 stars
7/03/05 Naka Howard is a lucky hack. 2 stars
7/03/05 Melissa AWESOME movie. Russell Crowe (at least in his profession) can't make a mistake. A+ 5 stars
6/30/05 Ole Man Bourbon I wish they'd included the scene where R Crowe smashed the phone on the valet 4 stars
6/29/05 Quigley Great to have Ron Howard back. This movie is awesome, awesome, awesome. 5 stars
6/29/05 lindy03 Excellent 5 stars
6/20/05 ownerofdajoint crowe is incredible;this movie is almost as good as raging bul 5 stars
6/17/05 chris. Gee, I didn't see ANY of that coming... 3 stars
6/16/05 Wayne Engle Second coming of Frank Capra! A superb job! 5 stars
6/16/05 Mike V Damn good. Ron Howard didn't "Hollywood" it up TOO much 4 stars
6/08/05 Jim Marmino Where is the creativity, just another Rock movie or Somebody Up There Likes Me. 3 stars
6/07/05 Ole Man Bourbon Decent, but oh so predictable. Definitely one of those that wrote itself (or maybe a puter 3 stars
6/04/05 PAUL BRUNS If you didn't already know the outcome, great 5 stars
6/04/05 J MAN good not great. If this is the best film of the year, were in trouble... 4 stars
6/03/05 jcjs wonderful 5 stars
6/03/05 Koitus Great story. Giamatti should get Supporting Oscar for this one! Well set-up ending. 5 stars
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  03-Jun-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Dec-2005



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