Mark Reviews Movies

RESURRECTING THE CHAMP

2 ˝ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Rod Lurie

Cast: Josh Hartnett, Samuel L. Jackson, Kathryn Morris, Dakota Goyo, Alan Alda, Rachel Nichols, Teri Hatcher, David Paymer, Harry J. Lennix, Peter Coyote

MPAA Rating:   (for some violence and brief language)

Running Time: 1:51

Release Date: 8/24/07



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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

Resurrecting the Champ is about the shaky ground upon which modern journalism stands and the relationship between fathers and sons. If that sounds like a difficult connection to make, it is. It's based on an article in the Los Angeles Times Magazine by J.R. Moehringer that turned a lie into the writer's truth. The screenplay by Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett turns it into a lie and then tries to find truth in its version. The recycling of truth and untruth weighs heavily on the movie, especially if you know nothing after the plot twist actually did—or probably could—happen, but even if its ideas are mish-mashed together, it does have some good points to make. Josh Hartnett stars as Erik Kernan, a sports writer for a Denver newspaper, who is trying to live up to his father's name in his career and trying to distance himself from his dad's personal life. He encounters a homeless man who calls himself "Champ" (Samuel L. Jackson) and claims to be boxer Bob Satterfield, a former contender for the championship belt. They talk, and Erik takes Champ's story to heart, pitching it as an idea for the paper's magazine. Things become complicated after the story is published, and suddenly Erik is faced with a moral quandary. The movie's observations about journalism are heavy-handed but effective, with Teri Hatcher showing up as a representative from a cable boxing program and telling Erik that journalism no longer exists and has been replaced with entertainment. One can't help agreeing with her, and the way Erik has to face his son (Dakota Goyo) and admit to the lies fathers tell to appear as heroes is touching. Hartnett is fine in a complex role, and Jackson gets past some pretty weak age makeup. The script and director Rod Lurie just can't get the parts to meld.

Copyright © 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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