Director Rod Lurie can always find the overwrought in the mundane; his filmography (The Last Castle,
The Contender, Deterrence) is stocked with bombastic movies in which a timpani’s deafening rumble accompanies every sideways glance. He’s at it again with this story of Erik (Josh Hartnett), a newspaperman who doesn’t do quite enough research about a would-be former boxing champ (Samuel L. Jackson) now living on the street. Erik’s celebrated piece ruins him—sort of, not really, who cares? Here’s what
Resurrecting the Champ gets right: the dull grind of reporting and researching and writing, and the dull thud caused by a mistake made during that wearying process—a mistake made totally by accident and easily fixable with a retraction. This isn’t great raw material, though Lurie and his screenwriters try their best to portray Erik as some guilt-ridden evildoer who’s perpetrated a great fraud. Ace in the Hole this ain’t; Sweet Smell of Success neither.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 14, 2007