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Movie Review: The Fighter

Alternate Title: Oh Brother, What Art Thou?

Story: Thoroughly predictable and totally entertaining. This film fits snugly in the boxing genre theme that Hollywood loves. You know the drill -- the underdog who tries to get one last chance at a title combined with the woman who believes in him, a family who drags him down and the use of boxing as a symbol for many of life's hardships. This film is a knockout. Kudos to director David O. Russell (Three Kings) and writers Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson.

What makes this film stand out from other boxing movies is fighter Micky Ward's dysfunctional family. You will rub your eyes in disbelief when you see where Micky comes from. There are scenes that make you laugh and at the same time make you feel uncomfortable around such nuttiness. Micky's mother, seven sisters and crazy brother give trailer trash a new avatar.

The story of Micky's quest for a shot at a welterweight title involves his overbearing ex-boxer, crack addicted brother as trainer and how Micky is finally able to get out from under his family's grip to move on with his life. Or can he actually do that?

This is a character driven film - characters that are fascinating to watch regardless of their flaws. The combination of an extremely strong cast, a true life tale and people to root for gives this film a shot at a number of awards come this season.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hwv7kT9P0mg

Acting: Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward brought this film to the big screen and he does a terrific job in his title role. Christian Bale as his brother Dicky Eklund, does what he does best. He chews up the screen with his riveting performance. Bravo. Amy Adams as Charlene Fleming finally goes against type and does a fine job the his Micky's girlfriend. Melissa Leo as Alice Ward is nothing short of phenomenal. The rest of the cast is outstanding.

Trivia: Mickey O'Keefe is a sergeant for the Lowell Police Department in Massachusetts. In real life, he was the mentor of "Irish" Mickey Ward of Lowell during his prolific boxing career and his eventual downfall. O'Keefe portrays himself in the 2010 film

Predilection: I like Mark Wahlberg.

Critters: None

Food: Some meat and potatoes and a birthday cake.

Blatant Product Placement: Lots and lots of Budweiser

Soundtrack: Terrific.

Opening Titles: An opening sequence that pulls you immediately into the film. Other than the title all credits are at the end. Stay for the credits and get to see the real life brothers.

Visual Art: Not much to look at in Lowell, MA.

Theater Audience: It was crowded considering it was for a 10:30 AM show on a Tuesday morning. However, it is the only theater in Manhattan that it is playing.

Weather: Inconsequential.

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I was entertained throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I think so, indeed. Big screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: Under two hours.