Against the Ropes
Time Out saysOf course, it's not Meg Ryan's fault. Hollywood does write the parts for women in their 40s - it just doesn't cast 'em. All of which helps explain why Ryan has chosen to iron and laminate her face in a bid to keep up with the Scarlett Johanssons. The flip side is that throughout this solid boxing melodrama, Ryan's features appear as inflexible and incapable of subtleties as the Erin Brockovich-style attire she's been squeezed into. And it isn't just the clothes. Ryan is also a hard-nosed accidental businesswoman going toe to toe in a man's world. She plays Jackie Kallen (the script is based on Ms Kallen's life story), an ambitious boxing manager who discovers hotheaded young buck Luther Shaw (Epps), softens his edges and steers him towards title glory. Director Dutton, who reserves the plum part of veteran trainer Felix for himself, dances around issues of race, sexism and organised crime without giving the impression of doing anything more than tick boxes on the way to a grandstand finish. Aficionados of boxing movies will be pleased to note the requisite mid-film montage of knockout punches is present and correct.