This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of the audience, even if the film never quite breaks through the surface. A story of tenacious triumph in the face of seemingly impossible odds, it also offers Miles Teller a terrific against-type role as a beefy young boxer who simply won't take no for an answer. And the entire cast is just as surprising, adding textures to a movie that's a bit too straightforward for its own good.
This is the story of Vinny Pazienza (Teller), a young boxer who wins two world championships in two weight classes with the help of his father Angelo (Ciaran Hinds) and his trainer Kevin (Aaron Eckhart). Then at the top of his game, he breaks his neck in a car crash and is told he may never walk again, let alone fight. But Vinny is determined to remain the champ, so he returns to training, even though an injury could leave him permanently disabled. Kevin reluctantly agrees to train him, pushing him up into yet another weight class. And seeing the publicity possibilities, father-and-son promoters (Ted Levine and Jordan Gelber) set up a massive Vegas comeback match.
Writer-director Ben Younger shoots this with a steady authenticity, charging inexorably through the story in a way that echoes Vinny's singleminded determination. Along the way, there are strained relationships, a variety of physical and emotional obstacles, intense boxing matches and, of course, a few emotive training montage sequences. The story is so strong that the film can't help but be engaging and even rousing, even if there are very few shadings along the way. Vinny never seems to doubt himself at all, his family only barely objects to his potentially life-threatening decisions, and his opponents are clearly going down for the count.
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Vinny Paz always had the passion and drive to be the best boxer in which ever division he turned his hand to, he trained rigorously and his whole life revolved around winning the next title. Cheeky in nature Vinny immediately caught the attention of the sporting press earning himself the nickname 'The Pazmanian Devil' for his speed and ability to run circles around his competition in.
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Younger aimed high when casting for his sweet screenplay and attached two marquee names to his personal endeavor. Meryl Streep dons a frumpy wig and horn-rimmed spectacles to create Lisa Metzger, a Manhattan mensch and doting psychotherapist currently treating newly divorced, statuesque blonde bombshell Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman). Following Lisa's advice to let loose a little, Rafi enters a relationship with David (Bryan Greenberg), a lower East Side painter who happens to be 14 years younger... and Lisa's son.
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Boiler Room is the story of Seth (Ribisi), a 19-year-old college dropout obsessed with the American dream of easy money. After concluding rather quickly that college isn't necessarily the fast track to a quick buck, he opens up an underground casino out of his house in Queens, providing a popular service for the local city college kids. After his disapproving father (Rifkin) finds out about the casino, Seth, feeling a repressed need to gain his father's approval, looks into an opportunity to become a stockbroker at the small firm of J.T. Marlin.
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