Against the Ropes (2004) Poster

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6/10
Agreeable comedy-drama about boxing world with a likable Meg Ryan as an obstinate promoter
ma-cortes4 October 2007
The movie focuses to Jackie Kallen(Meg Ryan), a Jewish girl from Detroit, a secretary plenty of wide dreams. After a stake with a famous commissioner(Tony Shalhoub)she becomes a boxing promoter of a young boxer(Omar Epps).Then she hires a retired coach(Charles S. Dutton) for training the inexperienced boxer.

Although is a fictional story is based on true events referred by United States's most noted boxing manager. In addition, are narrated her relationship with the tough boxer, her fight to survive into boxing world, a sport strongly dominated by male sex. It's developed with humor, love and a little bit of drama. The casting is frankly excellent, a sympathetic though selfish Meg Ryan, a two-fisted but sensible Omar Epps, today well known as the doctor in ¨House¨, such as Tony Shaloub by ¨Monk¨series; furthermore Jose Cortese and Tim Daly(son of James Daly and brother of Tyne Daly) as a sports reporter. The motion picture packs an enjoyable cinematography by Jack N. Greene( Clint Eastwood's usual cameraman) and catching soundtrack by Michael Kamen(Weapon Lethal, Die hard). The movie is professionally directed by usually actor Charles S Dutton in his first movie, he has followed directing television movies. Rating : Acceptable and entertaining . The film will like to Meg Ryan fans and boxing buffs but displays nice combats.
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Only the audience is against the ropes
Buddy-517 November 2004
Though ostensibly based on a true story, 'Against the Ropes' is pure movie hokum from start to finish.

Jackie Kallen made a name for herself as one of the few successful female managers in the history of professional boxing. In the movie's prologue, we meet Jackie as a young girl so obsessed with the sport that she spends her off hours at the gym helping her dad train her uncle, a fighter who died very early in his career. Years later, Jackie, on a dare, agrees to manage her own player - if only she can find a talent who will be willing to put his life and his career in the hands of an untried but determined woman. She alights on Luther Shaw, a drug-dealer-with-a-heart-of-gold whom she picks up in the nearby projects. Luther is, for the most part, a fictional character, a composite, we're told, of several of the fighters Kallen led to victory in the ring.

Regardless of how much of this is fiction or nonfiction, 'Against the Ropes' fails to generate any heat either as a character study or as a human drama. We're supposed to find all this interesting simply because Kallen is an attractive woman trying to prove herself in a man's world. Yet, the story is hackneyed, the dialogue corny, the characters and their conflicts trite and underdeveloped. The Cheryl Edwards screenplay is so sketchy and poorly articulated that we often don't understand why characters are behaving the way they are, particularly when it comes to the rough-and-tumble relationship between Jackie and Luther. One moment they are getting along swimmingly, and the next Jackie is strutting around blowing her own horn while Luther sits pouting in the corner. Whole episodes, which could have gone a long way towards explaining the characters' motivations, seem to have been dropped from the finished product at the last minute.

Kallen is obviously a change-of-pace role for Meg Ryan who generally plays the innocent ingénue lead in romantic comedies. Yet, despite the fact that she is a trifle more serious here and even gets to work with an accent (the mark of any 'serious' performer looking to buck up her credentials), the movie itself is so lacking in tension and grit and so determinedly upbeat and optimistic that it really doesn't give the actress a whole lot of opportunity to truly stretch those acting muscles. In fact, in the final scene, the film turns into little more than a vanity production for the waning star. Omar Epps fares a bit better, turning in a performance of strength and dignity, though the script lets him down by failing to develop his character to any appreciable extent.

The one fight scene is only moderately well executed and comes way too late in the film for anyone interested in the sport to still be hanging around ringside at that point. In fact, no one comes even close to scoring a knockout blow in 'Against the Ropes' - not Ryan, not Epps and certainly not the audience. 'Against the Ropes' is a sucker punch all the way.
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6/10
Not-very-well-written but has redeeming features
smatysia22 July 2009
This is a not-very-well-written film that nonetheless has redeeming features. The story arc is clichéd, (underdog succeeds against all odds, hubris sets in, everything lost, then redemption), and Meg Ryan, who I think is a better actress than some, is badly miscast here. She just can't come across as tough enough for this role. The slutty clothes her character wore, although looking very nice, didn't fit. (Even though I'm sure she was channeling Kallen) Omar Epps put in a very nice performance, and I have to compliment Kerry Washington and Charles S. Dutton for their work, although there was not enough of Washington. Also Tony Shalhoub who I haven't much cared for, shows his chops by going against type playing an imposing and menacing character. I see that Dutton directed and did well, inasmuch as I never noticed the direction. This film has deep faults, but somehow works, at least to a point. I thought it was OK.
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7/10
Don't hate the player hate the game.
elaija23 November 2005
Meg Ryan pulls a great performance as the underdog of this movie. Playing a real person is never easy and being a woman in boxing holds as much discrimination on its own without adding that she works it with sex appeal. You can't hate a story when it comes from true events and both Shaloub and Ryan pull off their characters with finesse. Don't hate her because she's not in her much loved romantic comedy persona; love that she pulled off the Midwestern girl honoring her father's memory and her uncles love with dedicating her life to boxing. Comparing Omar Epps to Tom Hanks is so inappropriate in this film. There is never meant to be a love connection between Epps and Ryan. It's more of a mothering relationship; the son she never had and the mothering he never received. You are either going to love or hate this movie. Be assured you'll watch it till' the end and will have an opinion one way or the other.
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1/10
Um......
mlionfire9 March 2006
I sat through all of this... and I have to say that it is another colossal and predictable waste of celluloid... Mz. Ryan is terribly miscast and nowhere near tough enough for this type of role... and that lace-up leather number she has on really accentuates the worst of her physical stature... I wish I could say something good about this movie... Meg Ryan has given us some pretty good movies in the past, but I can't seem to find any redeeming qualities... The whole thing needs a remake, with a different cast, as I believe that Jackie Kallen's story is valid to boxing history and should be told...

I thought that Tony Shalhoub, the actor who is Jackie's rival (also plays Monk on TV)has turned in a sight better performances than this before... sorry, but this is one dog of a movie you should avoid...
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4/10
An Erin Brockovich Boxing Movie
christian12320 November 2004
Meg Ryan plays a Jewish woman from Detroit who strives to become a successful boxing manager despite facing many obstacles, including an unscrupulous boxing promoter, played by Tony Shalhoub. Against the Ropes looks at the relationship between Kallen and her first professional boxer, played by Omar Epps.

Against the Ropes is your typical Lifetime movie of the week feature that somehow made it to theaters. It had nice intentions but the film is not very good or strong. The story is very uninspired and it reminded me of Erin Brockovich. Against the Ropes tried too hard to be like Erin Brockovich and other boxing films without really being its own film. Also, most of the film is pretty dull and there are no real good performances. Meg Ryan is okay as Jackie Kallen. She was a little weak in the dramatic scenes and sometimes her emotions felt really fake. Her outfits were really trashy and this took away from her already less than stellar performance.

Meg Ryan is paired up with Omar Epps and he gives a decent performance. However, his chemistry with Meg is really weak. This hurts the film a lot since the whole movie was basically their relationship. Tony Shalhoub gives an okay performance but there really wasn't a lot for his character to do. Charles S. Dutton gives an okay performance as Felix. Again, there really wasn't much for his character to do. Dutton also directs the film and he does an okay job. He could have developed the characters a little more and he could have done a better job at capturing the relationship between Jackie and Luther. The film is very predictable and very simple. The boxing scenes are good but they pale in comparison to other boxing films like Rocky. In the end, this really is a weak film that's not worth watching. Rating 4/10
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Against the Ropes...A movie to remember
Mbj2much4ya24 February 2004
I had the pleasure of going to the premiere for Against the Ropes in LA on February 11, 2004. I thought the movie was excellant. I am Charles Dutton's neice, and a very big fan of Omar Epps. The movie was very well written, and directed, and the cast did a fantastic job. Meg Ryan definately played her part, and made it be known that there is no such thing as "a man's sport". I give the movie, it's writers, directors, and it's cast 2 thumbs up. This will definately be a movie that I will purchase on DVD when it comes out.
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1/10
Wallows in Lameness
jwerwin8021 February 2004
This was a huge, huge disappointment. It's a lot like a weak boxer. The story starts strong, but about halfway into things it loses it's legs. They should have thrown in the towel during the final act, because this movie was not holding itself up.

It's bad enough that the story has nothing to do with the real life of Jackie Kallen, these characters have nothing to do with reality at all. Even as a piece of fiction, I couldn't buy what they were doing. The characters black and white, good and evil, and there's nothing complex about them. This movie doesn't try to challenge you to think at all. Tony Shaloub plays a thinly veiled Bob Erim caricature who is always evil. He's never nice to anyone. Omar Epps plays a thinly veiled James Toney, minus Toney's uncontrollable temper, and with a much higher IQ. Epps' character Luther Shaw is just a kid who's had a run of bad luck and needs a chance. He's a hero. Ryan is also someone who just needs a chance. He and Ryan's characters have to learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and have enough heart to follow their dreams. In this world, good always triumphs over evil and people always get their dreams.

Here's how Kallen describes the movie on her own site:

"The true story of boxing manager Jackie Kallen - dubbed the First Lady of Boxing - a former Detroit TV personality, publicist, and suburban mom, who broke into the predominantly male boxing community and guided the careers of several fighters, including champions James Toney and Thomas Hearns. Kallen later went on to become the commissioner of the International Female Boxers Association."

This movie is an insult to the sport of boxing. When you think about how low boxing has sunk recently, anything that insults boxing has to be absolutely awful. The big fight sequence at the end of the movie has to be one of the worst boxing scenes in the history of the movies. Think of the ridiculous boxing sequences in the later Rocky sequels, and then imagine trying to make them even more absurd. The characters do nothing but take cheap shots and then smack each other with devastating blows squarely on the jaw.

The saddest thing is the real story of Jackie Kallen would have made a great movie. Meg Ryan portrays her as a spinster working as a secretary for a boxing promoter in Cleveland. The real Jackie Callen was married, had a son, and was the publicist for the Kronk gym in Detroit. Callen's first big fighter, James Toney, was from Ann Arbor. The script doesn't even set the story in Michigan where things really happened.

In this world there's no Don King, no mafia, no sleezy gamblers ... it's just not the real world of boxing. There's also no controversial fight between James Toney and David Tiberi. In the real world, so many people felt the scoring of that fight was so wrong that the fight must have been fixed. That decision (for Toney) launched an investigation into boxing by the US Congress.

For her part, Meg Ryan offers no surprises and just plays another blonde who smiles a lot. Really, this is a role that should have been played by Marg Helgenberger of CSI. Ryan is too innocent. Helgenberger would have brought credible toughness and credible sexuality to the role. Charles Dutton is always amazing, and Omar Epps looks like an up and coming action star, but the script isn't up to their talents. Tony Shaloub also does a lot with a poorly written character.

If this movie really had told the real story of Jackie Kallen, it would have been worth seeing. Instead it tells a predictable fictional story about unoriginal characters that lack believable human traits.

Don't bother.
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Meg Ryan and Tony Shaloub are excellent in this fact-inspired movie.
TxMike19 October 2004
I don't follow boxing, but the lady that Meg Ryan portrays is apparently the female ground-breaker as a boxing manager. The movie is set in Cleveland, on a dare she finds a local black man who appears to have potential, she gets a retired trainer to look at her kid, and together they make a winner. Tony Shaloub is the best here, as the ruthless local boxing manager and promoter who gets his cronies to blacklist her and prevent her boxer from fighting in local fights. So she has to take him to places like Buffalo, NY and cities in Florida to win fight that will eventually get him a title fight. A different role for Meg Ryan, she changes her voice and has to play a "hard" woman. In the DVD extras, the real lady boxing manager is interviewed and it is a nice addition to the story that was inspired by her life, but many things have been changed so it is not really a biographical sketch. The movie is better than its IMDb rating would indicate.
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2/10
Simply awful
doppler-418 August 2004
What a complete waste of talent... a poorly written, thin story that might have... well... been a contender.

My honest advice is do not watch this unless you have a strong drink in one hand and the other ready to hit your remote's fast-forward button.

Meg Ryan has a terrible time getting into Jackie Kallen's character and struggles to bring any depth to the part. Omar Epps blows her away in the acting department, but that doesn't say much. Charlie Dutton is Charles Dutton, but the script seems to hang them all out to dry.

The only thing that was good was the print I saw had excellent color balance.
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4/10
This movie couldn't decide what it was.
nancyldraper17 September 2018
This movie couldn't decide what it was. It's not a bioPic. As Kallen, herself, said, "The character is named Jackie Kallen and she sounds like me but they changed so much of the story that it wasn't me... it's just a little confusing to be the actual subject of a movie and yet have it not follow your life enough that you can't recognize yourself." It's not a Rocky story, rising from nothing to champ, because it can't decide who is Rocky - is it Jackie or Luther? It's not Meg Ryan's usual RomCom, although it flirts with the idea in some scenes. And, finally the boxing has no authenticity (the last fight is a joke). The problem with trying to span so many genres it ends up failing in them all. What a waste. I give this film a 4 (poor) out of 10. {BiographyX, RomanceX, Boxing DramaXXX}
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4/10
100% formula
moonspinner5522 September 2005
Sloppy, sentimental boxing comedy-drama is based on successful female boxing manager Jackie Kallen's tough rise to the top ('loosely inspired' seems a more appropriate term). Meg Ryan plays Kallen with a streetwise edge in her voice and is appropriately cast, but her outlandish wardrobe certainly belies the salary of a glorified secretary, and Tony Shalhoub embarrasses himself as a 'Godfather'-styled kingpin of the boxing mecca (he dresses and talks like John Gotti, but only seems to have one client). Charles Dutton directed, and his own performance as the veteran trainer (yet another cliché) is at least warmly thought out--ironically, it's the best acting here. "Ropes" is a lackluster film, put together and distributed as if nobody involved had a hope in hell for it. The boxing scenes are slapdash, with Ryan walking right across the ring at one point to deliver a last-second pep-talk to Omar Epps, the kind of conspiratorial speech that is older than dirt (why doesn't she just say, "Win one for the Gipper"?). Omar's rise to success is swifter than a bad odor, which is pretty much what this misfire leaves in its wake. *1/2 from ****
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1/10
Worst fight scenes ever
TheShiff9 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The boxing scenes in this movie make it unbearable to watch. There is no point in a movie about a woman who wants to be a boxing manager. Where's the real plot? You would think the movie would revolve around the boxer himself and not his manager. There is nothing exciting about this movie, and no suspense. I originally started watching because i thought I would see meg ryan in skimpy boxing shorts or something similar. What i seen was her standing near a ringside yelling at a lightweight boxer called Luther. They try to glorify this how? They could have at least made it a heavyweight bout. The fight scenes at the end is of the lowest quality. For hockey fans, This movie is like watching the AHL from an assistant coaches position... I mean sure there is no NHL right now, but there are still Rocky movies... go rent one of those instead. This movie is horrid! And then they applause Meg near the end for managing Luther to the title... who cares! she didn't even do anything! Not recommended at all. I love the big glorified ending "Jackie became the best female boxing manager of all time"... WOW, really, who cares?
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4/10
Meg tries to re-invent herself....again.
gregsrants15 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Boxing is one of the few sports that has transcended well onto the big screen. Raging Bull, Rocky I & II and even 1992's more comedic effort Diggstown each offered an exciting and or interesting look at the corrupt, gruesome and barbaric sport of boxing. Even less accomplished films like The Great White Hype and Michael Mann's Ali are still better than the Major League's, Slap Shots or Victory's that other sports have produced on film. With nary a misstep, you could get the impression that boxing movies were a failsafe option. That was until now. New to DVD this week is Against the Ropes, a boxing film that is yet another vehicle to re-invent and re-energize Meg Ryan's persona. This stab has Meg playing Jackie Kallen, a true-to-life famous boxing promoter that used her skills and sex appeal to puncture the male dominated sports arena. Stuck as an executive assistant, Jackie stands up to the vile boxing promoter LaRocca (Tony Shalhoub) and ends up buying a boxers contract for the bargain basement price of a dollar. Upon attempting to contact her new acquisition, Jackie is introduced to Luthur Shaw (Omar Epps) who bursts on to the scene to rough up a few drug users in the rundown apartment complex. Seeing talent in the way Shaw handled himself, Jackie bails him out of jail and offers him a chance to box professionally, which he reluctantly accepts after her persistent aggression. With a boxer now under her wings, Jackie pursues retired trainer Felix Reynolds (Charles S. Dutton) to chisel off the rough edges and make Shaw the boxer we all know he will end up before we see the first credit at the ass end of the film. But things can't be that smooth for Ms. Kallen or they wouldn't have optioned the story for a movie, and obstacles come in the form of LaRocca's influence on the sport and how he is able to keep Jackie's fighter to insignificant, under-card fights. Jackie's fights with other venues and boxing promoters to circumvent LaRocca's unfair decision gets the royal treatment by the sports media and soon her head gets bigger than most boxing purse payouts. This would then lead to the anxiety on behalf of Shaw and his eventual run to LaRocca for the respect, money and limelight he thinks he is entitled. Directed by Charles S. Dutton (there's that name again), Against the Ropes is a misfired attempt at what was probably a Seabiscuit type story of a female breaking in ranks with the big guys. But as the movie plods along with some unnecessary and almost laughable accents by Shalhoub and Ryan, we find that we don't care about the characters, can see things scenes before they unfold and we are reminded that boxing can sometimes be more of a who you know rather than what you can do kind of experience. Maybe most notable was the effort by Ryan who with last years In The Cut and now with Against the Ropes is trying to have everyone forget that she has dimples and is nothing if not for the actors to which she is surrounded (and with all due respect to Omar Epps, you are no Tom Hanks). Where Julia Roberts was a little more effortless in her brazen role as Erin Brockovich, Ryan seems to be trying to hard to re-invent herself. Her swagger was probably a mock of the real Kallen's walk, but coupled with the heavy deep-throated voice, it just doesn't play out as natural enough and is therefore more distracting than believable. Also noted are how each of the characters offered nothing new to those viewers that either watch boxing as a spectator sport or who have enjoyed boxing films in the past. There is the out-for-myself promoter (Shalhoub), the reporter who is always on the side of the good guys (Tim Daly), the trainer you know will get his fighter in shape in record time….etc., etc., etc., …. So with all this going against it, I recognize that this is a boxing movie and I had hoped that the boxing sequences are exciting enough to keep us on the edge of our seats and forget all that leads up to them. Nope. Against the Ropes fails there too. The boxing sequences seem amateurish in how they were shot and orchestrated. Gone are the smashing sound effects of body blows and jabs that made Rocky such a smack to the senses. Instead, they are replaced with phantom punches and screen shots from the cheap seats of a large arena. Too easy a cliché to pass up, Against the Ropes is no TKO. Instead, I felt like the experience was a draw put in the hands of corrupt judges and this judge gives it a thumbs down.
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7/10
At Least as Good as "Erin Brokovitch"
Bob-4520 September 2004
Having intensely disliked the last four or five Meg Ryan movies, I looked upon viewing "Against the Ropes" with some trepidation. After all, the movie had received terrible reviews, both with the critics and with the members of the IMDb. While boxing is my favorite spectator sport, I don't like it enough for "Pay for View" or HBO. So I went into the movie knowing nothing of Jackie Kallen or the accuracy of the film. Maybe that's why I enjoyed "Against the Ropes" so much. I could appreciate the work Ryan, Omar Epps, Charles Dutton, Timothy Daly and, especially, Tony Shaloub were putting on the screen. That Dutton directed particularly impressed me. He handles actors and the camera very well, has a very good eye for screen composition and color. Ryan's Midwestern accent is at least as plausible as Kurt Russell's in "Miracle," and "Against the Ropes" is a more entertaining movie. However, the best acting plaudits go to Tony Shaloub as the weaselly fight promoter. Those only familiar with Shaloub's work on "Monk" or "Wings" are going to see a completely different side of him. Shaloub is menacing without the use of violence; that's not as easy to do as some people might think. The ensemble acting here is even better than "Erin Brockovitch," another sanitized story, so I fail to see why that movie was praised and this one panned. Despite the Hollywood touches, this movie is less predictable than either "Brockovitch" or "Twelve Monkeys," which both received much better reviews.

"Against the Ropes" motivated me enough to read Jackie Kallen's biography.She's a hottie like Ryan, no surprise since that was necessary to get any attention at all in a "man's sport". she's also 57 (so much for the childhood scene, dated "1972" in the beginning) and was a successful fight analyst before she became a manager (so much for the secretary bit. She's also Jewish, three of her gentile champions paraded around the ring with trunks emblazoned with the star of David. Now THAT'S the story I would have liked to have seen. Nonetheless, as presented, "Against the Ropes" is worth at least a "7".
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against the audience?
Chrysanthepop25 August 2007
Said to be based on a true story, 'Against the Ropes' is not as effective as other movies of this genre. The story does not grip and even as a character study it fails. The screenplay is quite poor (and predictable), the characters are half-baked, the dialogues are dull and it has nothing new to offer. Cheryl Edwards expects to understand what's going on but we are always questioning what the motivation of the characters were.

Meg Ryan looks very hot and she does the best she could with an ill-written character. Omar Epps is okay (he two suffers from a badly written role). The relationship between the two characters is one of the most important elements of the plot (or should have been). Yet, this is hardly developed. One moment we see Epps character hugging Ryan and the next we see him call her a bitch and wanting to quit. It would have been a far better movie had this point been improved.

The plot is obviously very predictable and we know how it will end. There are so many plot holes and there is just too much missing from this film. Maybe there was pressure to make this film within the time limit and the director decided to leave out some parts, probably substantial parts. On a positive note, the last boxing scene was well shot.

'Against the Ropes' felt very incomplete and it's a waste for the cast and crew who are otherwise known for their good work. For some reason I tried to enjoy the film...but did not succeed. It isn't the worst movie around and I think it's okay for a one-time watch.
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4/10
Omar Epps looks like a woman on the box cover
caspian197815 July 2004
A movie with its moments, most of the moments being bad, bad, bad. The Studio shelved this un-winner for a few years for good reasons, they did not know if an audience for this movie existed. At times, the direction of the film created some nice visuals but nothing else. A lot of the cutting between scenes jumped without any story between more scene to another. Kind of jumpy and fast, the movie tries to find its story somewhere at the half way point, and doesn't mind it. Meg Ryan once again proves herself by doing another different film that leaves the audience still guessing. Giving up her innocent / beauty roles for the more serious, she tries to jump back into comedy to try her beauty and charm again. The only problem is that the audience gave up going to see her role in those movies to see her as a serious actress. Much like Omar Epps looking like a woman on the poster and cover of the movie box, this movie makes you turn your head to one side like a confused dog.
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2/10
Was Tom Hanks in this movie?
film-critic30 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It is embarrassing to see Hollywood have their hands so deep into a project that you can already tell how the film will end before you even finish watching the opening credits. You could even possibly tell how the film will end, and how most of the main conflicts will be resolved, from a true Hollywood preview. This is exactly the case with Against the Ropes. While Meg Ryan thinks that she may be shedding her romantic-comedy skin for something a bit more roughly, what actually is demonstrated is that Ryan is willing to do any feel-good project. There was nothing gritty or real about this film, and in fact, should be labeled as a fantasy story. With the fading accent that Ryan produces only brings smiles to most faces, the fact that nothing truly bad happens on her road to achieving greatness in a male dominated world is pathetic. The writer of this film, same writer as Save the Last Dance, doesn't give any honest response to Ryan on her journey to the top. The fighter never looses a fight and Ryan is never stopped from being the best, she continually has one good thing happen to her time after time. To me, this builds for a true-Hollywood story that promises never to change or to bring anything tempting to the screen.

I honestly could picture this film as a very gritty portrait of a woman trying to compete in a man's world, but instead what was actually shown to me was this laminated piece of fake history that was promoted as the story of Jackie Kallen's life. There was no dark seedy underbelly to this story, except for when Ryan moseys her way into the ghetto. In quite possibly one of the most racist scenes of the film, Ryan clichés her way into the world of this fighter that is black therefore from the streets. I know that they were trying to build the background to where this unstoppable boxer could come from, but to me it has all been done before and better. I thought that the filmmakers even glossed over the ghetto to bring us into this dramatic light. It was not a believable story, and ultimately that is what hurt this picture.

Outside of this laminated world created, there were just so many loose ends that were not even attempted to be closed by anyone in the film. Tim Daly's character was the most simplistic character I have ever seen in a film causing the mere minutes he was in this film to be some of the most catastrophic and confusing ever. Was he in love with Jackie? Did he still hate her at the end? What was he doing most of the time? Then there was actor/director Charles S. Dutton who played double duty in this film and gave us nothing new with his character. Cliché after cliché, Dutton played the exact same boxing coach that has been done time and time again. Does every boxing coach need to be gruff and large? Apparently, when you are in Hollywood, the answer is "yes". The only person that gave some decent effort in this film was Omar Epps, whose voice was completely covered by Ryan's lacking appeal. You basically had to look at Epps during this entire film because Ryan's performance gave you splitting headaches. This than caused several problems throughout the film, especially the ending. What happened at the end? I can't even count on one hand the number of questions that I had and why, oh dear me why, Hollywood created this glossed ending that resembled nothing of real life, but was destined to give the audience something to tear up about. GET OVER YOURSELF Hollywood. If you want to make a good movie, you must show realism, not everyone clapping at the end. How many times in real life does this happen? Either way, it was despicable and nothing sort of general.

Overall, this film was a waste of time. If you have seen one sporting film, you have seen Against the Ropes. If you have seen two sporting film, then I am sorry for you. Sport genres are my least favorite and this is yet another glowing example of why. Cheap characters coupled by a story that seemed more like fairyland instead of reality brought this movie down quite a distance in my book. What is even more appalling is the fact that Jackie Kallen looks nothing like Meg Ryan. Apparently, the studios needed someone that would attract people to the film because the STORY ITSELF cannot carry on its own, so Ryan was called in to change her image and bring out the worst of the story. I continually kept a keen eye on this movie just to see if Tom Hanks would make an appearance as her dad, possibly another boxer or just some random moment to revitalize the Ryan/Hanks appeal, but alas, it never occurred. It would have helped the film in the long run, but instead we found cliché after cliché was the stronger approach. I am not suggesting this film at all unless you are a die-hard Meg Ryan fan, and even then I think you will be disappointed.

Grade: ** out of *****
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1/10
Pure Stereotypes!
thomascapital26 February 2005
It was so bad! The acting was pure stereotypical. The head-shakes, sighs were bad enough, we had to endure Meg's collagen lips! Is she trying to look like Angilie Jollie? The best acting came from the character of Felix. Please don't waste two hours of your life. Those two hours would be better utilized by clipping your toe nails or doing your taxes!

We love Meg, but she should buy up all the copies and have them burned! The character of the "bad Boxer" was a caricature right out of 1950's "B" movies. Tony Shaloub is a great actor, playing the part of a "Made-Man" that is Puerto Rican! Are they serious? Anyone who watches the Sopranos knows that only Scicilians can become made-men!

Meg: Stop taking collagen injections, go back to the cutsey genre of comedies that you are so good at!
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6/10
Underrated
jpintar13 July 2004
Against The Ropes is an underrated movie about a female boxing manager.

Meg Ryan seemed like the last choice to play this role, but she is good as a woman who is trying to manage a champion fighter. Omar Epps is very good as her arrogant protegee who wants to a boxing champion. The always watchable Charles S. Dutton, who also directed, is also good as his trainer. It is based on a true story, but the film does feel like a Hollywood story. That is the problem with the movie. It is extremely predictable. You know where this movie is going before it gets there. That said, I did enjoy this movie enough to recommend it. I like the actors and the characters they play. This is not a great movie, but it does earn a 6/10 from me.
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6/10
Million Dollar Baby, Not!
jotix10020 March 2005
"Against the Ropes" is not the bad movie some of the contributors to this forum seem to imply. While it doesn't break any ground in a sport that is seen here in a more glamorized way, the film presents us a woman determined to succeed at being a boxing promoter. In real life, Jackie Kallen has proved herself to be capable of handling fighters. Charles S. Dutton, an actor himself, makes the best of the material Cheryl Edwards wrote, based on the real Jackie.

Jackie Kallen is a woman who knows a lot about boxing. When she spots the amazing Luther Shaw, she is determined to take him to the top. She realizes she has a thankless job, as she enters an area in sports totally dominated by men. Jackie is not a quitter, as she proves it to the boxing world and to herself. While boxing drama has been dealt with in much better movies, we won't dwelt on it.

Jackie Kallen, is played by Meg Ryan. She is at times annoying in her determination to go against the controlling mafia-like people in the business. Omar Epps, as the boxer, appears to do a fair job as a fighter that wants to go to the top of the heap. Tony Shalhoub plays LaRocca, the man who would like to defeat Jackie and show her where she belongs, but she gets the last laugh! Charles S. Dutton, as Felix, the trainer, doesn't have much to do. Timothy Daly, is Gavin, the man responsible for attracting attention to Luther because of his friendship with Jackie.

Watch this movie with open eyes.
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4/10
Good fight sequences, forgettable movie
colettesplace3 December 2004
Against the Ropes is very loosely based on the life of Jackie Cullen, boxing's most successful female promoter ever.

Meg Ryan is Jackie, who's struggling as PA to a boxing venue owner, despite her family connections and knowledge of the sport. When she gains a dud boxer after a wager, Jackie encounters the talented Luther (Omar Epps) and enlists retired trainer Felix (Charles S Dutton, who also directed) to get Luther match-ready.

Although Meg Ryan does well enough with Cheryl Edwards' hackneyed script, the real Jackie Cullen seems to be a far more interesting character. Not enough attention is paid to developing the other characters either, though Jackie and her protégé Owen build a good rapport. There's also a gaping plot inconsistency: why would Jackie go back to temping in administration when she owns her own boxing studio?

However, the fight scenes are well choreographed and the highlight of the film. **/*****
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3/10
Count the clichés
anhedonia16 July 2004
"Against the Ropes" might very well have been based on the life of Jackie Kallen, but I doubt her life was really this clichéd or peopled with such run-of-the-mill characters.

Screenwriter Cheryl Edwards shows us nothing we haven't seen countless times before. This film is replete with every imaginable boxing-film convention, and also tosses in clichés common to women-in-the-workplace movies. I half-expected Dabney Coleman to reprise his role from "9 to 5" (1980).

We get the rags-to-riches bit, the angry street kid turned into disciplined fighter, the blow out scene during sparring, the outburst from the trainer and, lest we forget, the slow-hand clap.

Surely, Jackie Kallen's real life was much more interesting than this. Heck, just listening to her interviews makes her infinitely more fascinating than what's shown on film. I realize writers and filmmakers take liberties with stories, but to come up with such a stale story wastes good talent - Meg Ryan, Omar Epps, Tony Shalhoub and Charles S. Dutton.

Ryan's got a charming screen presence and charisma and builds nice chemistry with Epps, who does much better than Luther Shaw requires. But as lovely as Ryan is, playing a tough, bold broad dressed in tight miniskirts and cleavage-showing outfits isn't exactly her forte. I realize it's awfully unfair to pigeonhole her but let's face it, watching her brazenly sexual turn in "In the Cut" was a bit creepy - like watching your first-grade teacher do porn. Then again, having a stronger story would've helped immensely, too.

Dutton plays Felix, a trainer brought out of retirement, just as every other trainer in every other boxing film, and Kerry Washington's Renee is utterly superfluous as Luther's love interest. She adds nothing to the story or his character. Excise her role, and the film would be none the worse for it. Even Tony Shalhoub, a treat as TV's obsessive-compulsive detective Monk, plays a hackneyed sleazebag.

Instead of giving us insight into what is surely a unique life - a female boxing manager struggling and succeeding in a male-dominated sport and world - Edwards lumps one predictable moment atop another, each one terribly conventional. Ten minutes into this film and we know exactly how it will end. There's not a shred of complexity to any of the characters or plot points. The story simply ambles along without any sense of urgency. Even the boxing scenes seem mundane, opting for maudlin sentimentality instead of grit.

I can understand why Paramount kept this shelved for a while. I have no doubt Ms. Ryan can pull off a tough role - she was thoroughly convincing in "Courage Under Fire" (1996), after all. However, she just needs a terrific script if she wants to break out of the sweetheart stereotype, which seems to be her desire. But "Against the Ropes" was not it.
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I Liked It.
imxo22 February 2004
This movie has been described as a cross between a boxing film and a chic flic. Some women can't stomach boxing films and many men really loathe chic flics. Nevertheless, if you can overcome your aversion to one or the other this movie can be quite entertaining. Even though they are few and far between, I like boxing movies, and I thought the fight scenes in this movie were pretty good. Lots of stereotypes in this film, of course, but then that's what most boxing movies are all about. Good versus evil and - at least in this one - maybe even men versus women. Anyway, it's not high art - just a pretty good movie.
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1/10
Against One's Better Judgment
broadway54 February 2004
I had the bad experience of viewing this mess at a screening. The movie was to have been released quite awhile ago---for everyone's sake it should remain on the shelf. The better choice would be for it to go directly to video--that way one can rent it---burn it and return the ashes to the video store. This would prevent others from wasting their money. The movie is a true story about a woman who is a manager of boxers----is that important for people to know!!!This is not one of Meg Ryan's better roles--she is the only recognizable one in the movie--everyone else appears to be a wannabe!! Save your money or if you insist on going then check your brain at the concession stand and pick it up when leaving the theatre.
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