Cinderella Man - Prozac the movie
| First, let's get over the fact that this film has probably the worst title inflicted upon a Hollywood movie in many years. Cinderella Man is a film based on the life of depression era boxer Jim Braddock who had been called that unfortunate name by the media due to his remarkable comeback. Fortunately, I am not here to review the film's title so instead I will discuss the actual movie.
Unfortunately, the film isn't much better than its name. Ron Howard is back doing what he does best. He has managed to make a slick and shiny, Oscar ready clone that lacks any sort of depth or feeling… well, any sort of feeling that isn't canned in its own predictable violin-swelling juices. Like Apollo 13, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the travesty that was A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man is pre-packaged cinematic schmaltz designed to make us all feel good about spending our $13 without having to deal with anything as complicated as ideas or difficult emotions.
If you like your entertainment like you like your Prozac, Cinderella Man is the movie for you. There is not a surprise, shock or unforeseeable line in the whole 144 minutes. In fact, I have never heard of Jim "the Bulldog" Braddock but after 5 minutes I could tell you everything that was going to happen to this man before the credits rolled. You go in knowing how things will turn out and you feel good at the end seeing everything work out as it should.
The film makers do the audience a lot of "favours." The bad guys are all clearly bad and the good guys are never flawed enough to make us uncomfortable rooting for them. Never mind that this is supposed to be a true story; Americans don't like their heroes to be multidimensional so no one here is more complicated than someone on Everybody Loves Raymond. Just in case you aren't sure how you are supposed to feel at any given moment, the violins are there to sweep you into the proper emotional response. No thinking required! Joy…
This isn't to say that Cinderella Man is poorly made film. In fact, it's masterful. Ron Howard has been doing this long enough to know exactly how to milk his audience for all they are worth. The cast, which includes Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger and the especially wonderful Paul Giamatti, are all in top form giving rousing performances that are sure to delight.
Watching Cinderella Man is like listening to a Céline Dion song. Sure she can sing but what she chooses to sing is really hollow and empty. Cinderella Man is hollow and empty. Now, I know that many audiences prefer their entertainment hollow and empty. I don't understand this but I know it to be true. Don't get me wrong, I like a light, relaxing movie as much as the next guy, I just don't want to be insulted with mediocrity. Cinderella Man is the kind of mediocrity that many confuse with quality.
If you want mediocrity for your $13 then Cinderella Man is your ticket. If you want to spend your time on something worth while, skip it.