‘The Fighter’ is a mostly bland biopic
Wed, Dec 15, 2010 (6:50 p.m.)
Six years after releasing his weird, uncompromising existential comedy I Heart Huckabees, director David O. Russell seems determined to prove that he can work in the mainstream with The Fighter, a conventional, mostly bland biopic about working-class Boston-area boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his volatile brother/trainer Dickie Eklund (Christian Bale), a former contender who became a crack addict. Russell gets two people who overcome adversity: Micky moves past his economic circumstances and overbearing family to become a champ, while Dickie struggles with his drug addiction and violent tendencies to become the kind of support system his brother needs. The boxing scenes are uninspired, and the family drama is quickly tiring, even with Bale’s spirited, somewhat unhinged performance as train-wreck Dickie. Russell adds in a few more quirks here and there (although he overdoes it on the cartoonishly accented supporting characters), but mostly The Fighter goes through the repetitive motions on the way to its predetermined outcome.