Friday, April 4, 2008

Resurrecting the Champ DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Features Samuel L. Jackson as Hobo in Uplifting Bio-Pic

Hollywood has never been known to let the facts get in the way of an uplifting bio-pic, and this fiasco is no exception. Josh Hartnett stars as Erik Kernan, a struggling sports columnist for the Denver Post who crosses paths with Champ (Samuel L. Jackson), an alcoholic hobo rumored to be Bob Satterfield, a former heavyweight contender way back in the Fifties.
Seeing the story as the scoop which could establish him as a journalist to be reckoned with, Erik bribes his reluctant subject with beer to cooperate for a profile. But only after the paper has already published the piece does it learn that the story is a hoax since the real Bob Satterfield had died in 1977.
Nonetheless, the picture has been packaged as a feelgood flick, expecting you to be tweaked emotionally by the Champ’s nobly inspiring Kernan to mend fences with his estranged son. Unfortunately, the improbable tale unfolds in an utterly unconvincing fashion, and leaves one wondering how a big city paper could fail to check the basic fact of whether the subject of a cover story was dead or alive.
So, it was no surprise to this critic that a little research reveals the movie’s script to bear little resemblance to the real-life events that actually transpired. Turns out that the reporter, J.R. Moehringer, was not fooled by the impostor. Furthermore, instead of ever being an aspiring writer, J.R. was a very-promising Yale grad enjoying a meteoric rise on his way to winning a Pulitzer early in his career.
Pardon me for being offended when a flick revolving around the question of journalistic ethics takes so many liberties with the truth simply to spin a tall tale designed to tug on unsuspecting heartstrings.

Poor (½ star)
Rated PG-13 for violence and brief profanity.
Running time: 112 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Cast and crew interviews, and “The Making of” featurette.

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