Play It to the Bone
Time Out saysInspired by a locker room boxing legend, this concerns two low rent never-coulda-beens who land an invitation to fight each other as the warm-up bout for a championship match. Presumably because the drama hinges on the opponents' friendship, writer/director Shelton opts to follow them on the road from LA to Vegas. They take the scenic route, and this first hour and a half should have been a chance to savour the salty comic dialogue that sports mythologiser Shelton does so well. But Vince Boudreau (Harrelson) and Cesar Dominguez (Banderas) don't seem to know anything about each other - and nor does Grace (Davidovich), supposedly Vince's ex and Cesar's current girlfriend. It's by far Shelton's weakest film, badly in need of a rewrite, with such a flatfooted camera style that the road sections look like back projection. On the positive side, Cesar's admission of homosexual experimentation is an unexpected touch and, as usual, Shelton supplies his female lead with an amusing intellectual superiority. Still, it's only when you get down to the fight that the movie begins to make sense: you want both of them to win. That's an interesting and original dynamic for a boxing movie.