The Promoter, Die Promoterin
She gave the boxing world the one-two punch they never saw coming.
Skye McCole Bartusiak
Running Time: 111 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
Ive watched Against the Ropes twice now, and I still cant work out who its aimed at spunky modern day womens libbers who lapped up the likes of Erin Brockovich, or boxing fans? To be honest, its highly unlikely the film will garner much appreciation from either.
Based extremely loosely on the real-life story of a female boxing promoter who discovered a champ and stuck it to the man, it stars a horrendously-dressed Meg Ryan as First Lady of Pugilism, Jackie Kallen. Slightly unbelievably, shes in a Cleveland ghetto one day when she spots naughty swearing black man Luther Shaw (Omar Epps) getting himself into a punch-up. Instantly appraising his scrapping skills as off the hook, she rescues him from a lifetime of drug-dealing and hip-hop music and trains him up for a shot at the world middle-weight champions belt.
Sounds like a pile of cack, right? Well, theres a very good reason for that its because it is. Playing as one big cliché-fest, you can spot every last plot development coming a mile away, and Meg Ryan acts from start to finish as if the whole thing is beneath her (the worrying thing is, it probably is). Cheryl Edwards rank-awful screenplay doesnt help either. Its chock full of horrendous metaphors, such as the world is not an oyster, run with the big dogs, dont just sit on the porch and bark and find an elevator, press some buttons at least the only way up is up. Strangely though, the only metaphor that sprung to this reviewers mind whilst watching Ryan trot ludicrously around in those skimpy outfits was one involving mutton.
Simply put, this is a silly film. Had it concentrated a little more on the boxing side of things, it might have worked a little better. After all, Epps delivers a decent enough performance with very little material to work with and not a great deal of screen time. Unfortunately, the films only real concern is pitting Ryans predictably-feisty girl power up against the big bad male stereotypes who stand unconvincingly in her way at every turn. Whether you choose to look upon it as a boxing film or a slice of female empowerment, youll have seen it all before.
It's Got: A fat Ben Affleck look-a-like keep an eye out for him standing behind Men In Blacks Tony Shalhoub in most of his scenes.
It Needs: Epps championship opponent Juan Hernandez to have at least gotten in shape a little for the role. He looks less middle weight than jiggle weight.
DVD Extras A behind-the-scenes featurette titled Ringside Seat, a featurette on the real Jackie Kallen, and a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10
Alternatives:Erin Brockovich, Rocky
A film where the only thing skimpier than its stars outfits is the storyline.