Against the Ropes

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Against the Ropes ★★ 2004 (PG-13)

“Erin Brockovich” meets “Rocky” in this biopic loosely based on the life of Detroit boxing manager Jackie Kallen (although for some reason, they set it in Cleveland). Jackie (Ryan) is a tough, harried secretary for the Cleveland Coliseum who's smarter than her skimpy outfits would indicate. She sees her chance to go somewhere in the boxing world when she buys crackhead/boxer Luther's (Epps) contract from mobbed-up manager Sam (Shalhoub) for a dollar. Ryan plays Jackie as a walking cliche spouting lousy dialogue. Shalhoub injects the movie with a bit of fun doing his best Snidley Whiplash. Dutton does better playing Luther's trainer, Felix, than he does directing fight scenes that don't show the action with much clarity. There's no clear winner here, but the audience is definitely the loser. Paramount shelved the movie for a year and a half. 111m/C VHS, DVD . US Meg Ryan, Omar Epps, Tony Shalhoub, Timothy Daly, Charles S. Dutton, Kerry Washington, Joe Cortese; : Charles S. Dutton; W: Cheryl Edwards; C: Jack N. Green; M: Michael Kamen.