Against the Ropes
Here's one of my rules for hating movies: If the story's catharsis involves people applauding the protagonist, that film sucks.
Here's one of my rules for hating movies: If the story's catharsis involves people applauding the protagonist, that film sucks. This action is even more insidious if the applause is initiated by one character and the clapping spreads to other characters like a virus, finally landing on the film's antagonist, who just can't help himself and claps too. This scenario is the work of the cinema Devil.
The applause here is for boxing manager Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan), who helps Luther Shaw (Omar Epps) win the Middleweight title. Because Jackie is such a publicity hound, Luther has changed managers and turned to the evil Larocca (Tony Shalhoub). Though Larocca hates Jackie with every fiber of his being, he's standing there clapping at the end because, well, she's just so spunky.
For a film that's supposed to be about boxing, it tells us less about the sport than "Welcome to Mooseport," which isn't even about boxing. Jackie has grown up around the sport, yet there's no instance where she conveys that. Her contribution to Luther's victory involves a ridiculous walk through the middle of the ring during his championship fight in which she tells him he's "got what it takes" or whatever, then tells him to box right-handed. That is the most complex boxing-related interaction in the entire film. Apparently Luther has neither a good trainer nor a functioning brain.
"Against the Ropes" is a low blow, but I'd run into the street singing love ballads if pain in my groin was the only bad thing I felt after seeing this mess.
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