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June 12, 2005
Camera 7 -- Campbell CA
144 minutes

When America Was On Its Knees, He Brought Us To Our Feet -- CINDERELLA MAN.

It's Ron Howard, so here's what you can expect: expertise and manipulation. The music will be so overbearing as to take you away from what's happening. Bad guys will be extra bad (why does ever boxing challenger to our hero in any boxing film also have to be proficient in low blows and questionable calls?). The hero will be especially heroic. It will look perfect. We'll get to look for other Howards in supporting roles (Brother Clint, father Rance).

Ron Howard will tell us what to think and how to think about it. It will be out of our hands. The music will swell, Crowe will get punched, his children will be adorable, Paul Giamatti will be better than the material, Zellweger will get the Jersey accent just right. We know what's going to happen, but we like the ride to the destination.

Howard will completely steal Scorsese's flashbulb slow-mo-sound-effect from Raging Bull. He isn't the first.

Jim Braddock was some kind of stud--it's easy to see why he makes such a compelling film hero. But in the hands of Ron Howard, we have no choice but to love his American spirit (whatever that is) and his honesty and work ethic.

There were no lulls, except for a quick trip to Hooverville. There are flashes of what can only be described as Braddock's inner mind memory that rang completely false to me. About to go down, does he actually think of a note from the milkman, giving him another reason to try harder? I hope not.

7.0 Critical Consensus



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