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Sunday, May 25, 2008


Pleasingly modest & direct, Clint Eastwood’s late career triumph is a ringside father/daughter male-weepie supreme that largely deserves its kudos & success. If nothing else, it’s reclaimed boxing from the pyrotechnic stunts of RAGING BULL & the ROCKYs, back to BODY & SOUL levels of believability. Less can be more in boxing, too. On the other hand, in spite of just enough character comedy to cut through the mist, BABY all but begs for our tears with a plot as rigged as any crooked fight, and gallons of sadder-but-wiser, gravelly voice-over narration so cliched you can’t decide if it’s corny or comforting. Even odder is the fast recognition that our three stars are channeling alternate famous personae; Starring Clint Eastwood in the Paul Newman part, Morgan Freeman in the Ossie Davies role, and in this corner we feature Hillary Swank as . . . Matt Damon. Those big ol’ teeth are a dead giveaway.

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