Against the Ropes Directed by Charles S. Dutton
Paramount, in release
Cut me, Mick! Maybe that'll keep me awake. With the same movie star hairdo that squashed Jennifer Aniston's bid for store-clerkness in The Good Girl, Meg Ryan shakily assays another non-rom-com role, this time in a sports flick based on the life of Detroit sportswriter turned boxing agent Jackie Kallen. But what could have been a Working Girl hoot gets mired in redundant assertions of Kallen's feistiness. See our miniskirted babe take her job and shove it, strut out of typecast tough-talker Tony Shalhoub's office like it's a Hot Topic runway show, badger typecast wise man (and director) Charles Dutton into coming out of coaching retirement. As in In the Cut, Ryan's mentoring of a young black man gets played for walk-on-the-edge cred: See her brave the projects looking for typecast sports bad boy Omar Epps (who she's sure will be great if he'd just work as hard at boxing as she does at making her Midwestern vah-wells sound so flay-yat). As a gloves-off Erin Brockovich, Ryan never makes it into the ring.