Russell Crowe brings on the brawn as Thirties boxer Jim Braddock, who falls on hard times, but he seizes his second chance in 1934 when a champ needs a stand-in fighter.
Punchy in the knockout boxing scenes, Crowe is subdued in the emotional drama and, as his wife Mae, Renée Zellweger turns on the irritating little-woman act.
Director Ron Howard catches the mood and period right in a plush, lovingly crafted film and Craig Bierko hits the spot as champ Max Baer.
The film’s problems are the modest storytelling, the slow pace and the slightly arch and hammy performances by Zellweger and Paul Giamatti, as Joe Gould.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4331
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