Based on the true story of Kallen, who broke into the boys' club of professional boxing through smarts and moxy, "Against the Ropes" never incites enough of a rooting interest to capitalize on its inherent feel-good triumph-of-the-underdog arc. To scripter Cheryl Edwards' credit, she tries to shade the protagonists with fatal flaws; to her debit, she doesn't manage to redeem them in a dramatically satisfying way. Starring Meg Ryan, Omar Epps, Charles Dutton and Tony Shalhoub. Directed by Charles Dutton. Written by Cheryl Edwards. Produced by Robert W. Cort and David Madden. A Paramount release. Drama. Rated PG-13 for crude language, violence, brief sensuality and some drug material. Running time: 111 min
Against The Ropes
Meg Ryan's attempts to shake her indelible sweet 'n' light rom-com persona have thus far simply not taken, despite good work from the actress. In "Addicted to Love," heavy eyeliner and a jaded attitude didn't change any perceptions, and even her prurient turn in the salacious-leaning "In the Cut" didn't do much to add depth to her image, thanks to critical pans and the film's hasty retreat from theatres. In "Against the Ropes," Ryan is almost unrecognizable as husky-voiced, racily-garbed boxing promoter Jackie Kallen--but as convincing as her transformation is, it's rendered ineffective by its obtrusive "Erin Brockovich" parallels in a movie that's a flyweight "Rocky."