Crowe doesnt disappoint in Cinderella Man, his second collaboration with Howard, in which he plays the title role of Depression-era boxer Jim Braddock.
In the film, Braddock, who nearly misses winning the heavyweight title of the world, loses his comfy lifestyle following the onset of the Great Depression. The New York-based boxer and his family which includes three young kids and his wife, Mae, played with plenty of sequestered emotion by Renee Zellweger must now fight a day-to-day struggle to find work, pay the bills and put at least a little bit of food on the table. Jim is trying to get back into the boxing game, too, and does so with the help of his longtime trainer and friend Joe, portrayed with witty gusto by Sideways star Paul Giamatti.
Aside from Crowe and Zellwegers splendid performances and wonderfully understated chemistry, Cinderella Man also succeeds on a number of different levels. For one, its paced extremely well and filled with equal parts drama, heart and slam-bam in-the-ring boxing scenes. This is probably the doing of screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who also collaborated with Howard on A Beautiful Mind. When put side-by-side with Howards sentimental direction (which is usually the case in most of his films), Giamattis script-balancing wry humor and the films elegantly faded sets and costumes, Cinderella Man proves itself a definite contender.
Cinderella Man releases in theaters June 3.