Resurrecting the Champ

(2007) ** 1/2 Pg-13
111 min. Yari Film Group. Director: Rod Lurie. Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Hartnett, Teri Hatcher, Alan Alda, Kathryn Morris.
Director Rod Lurie, once a journalist himself, wrings every drop of pathos out of a true story recounted by J.R. Moehringer in the pages of L.A. Times Magazine. While there's a fair amount of insight as well, Lurie allows the story to overstay its welcome by pointlessly prolonging its obvious resolution with increasingly corny dramatic scenes. Before then, though, there's plenty to admire, with Samuel L. Jackson adopting the convincingly strange affect of a ring-addled, elderly ex-boxer. Josh Hartnett plays the nakedly ambitious sports reporter who sees "The Champ" as a ticket to a blockbuster journalistic career. The wages of ambition and being flexible with the truth are among the principal lessons, and the story also quickly evolves into a meditation on how fathers and sons see each other and need each other. Call Resurrecting the Champ a split decision, but it's a bout worth watching.
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