June 3, 2005
On the Big Board
||Crowe is never less than great and Howard really gets his camera into the action. Too bad all the family scenes fall flat.
||Finally, a decent Ron Howard movie. It hits every cliche (poverty, underdog, cute kids) but still delivers. Russell Crowe is typically fantastic.
||Paul Giamatti redeems a potentially overlong, smug production with a soulful performance.
||Much better than I expected. Fight scenes are wonderfully filmed, and Giamatti is terrific.
James Braddock needed money to feed his family. So, he started beating people up. Legally.
The story of one of the most famous boxers from the Great Depression will be brought to the big screen by the writer and director and star of 2001's Best Picture, A Beautiful Mind.
Crowe will portray Braddock, who not only as able to feed his family with his boxing success, but eventually earned a match against Max Baer (Bierko) for the heavyweight championship of the world. Zellweger will portray Braddock's wife.
The reteaming of Crowe, director Ron Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman is sure to make many headlines as Cinderella Man nears release as the last time those three worked together, A Beautiful Mind earned $170 million domestically, ten Oscar nominations and five wins.
There are several boxing-related films slated for release in 2004, but this will be the highest profile one since Will Smith's Ali disappointed in 2001. So while the sport itself may not be the big draw, there's a feel-good...feel to the story (Braddock was nicknamed Cinderella Man for his fairy-tale like rise to fame) and that's always something that sells with audiences, especially come awards time.
Crowe is coming off the successful Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, and while Howard missed with The Missing last time out, we're pretty sure Opie will be back in form here. Nobody had heard of John Forbes Nash, Jr. before A Beautiful Mind was released. Don't be too surprised if the story of James Braddock follows a similar path. (Tim Briody/BOP)
Comparison films for Cinderella Man
|Beautiful Mind, A