The Fighter (David O Russell, 2010)

"Man, this is just like being back in the Funky Bunch!"
What's it about? Stuggling boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is trained by his brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a former-boxer-turned-crack-addict, and managed by his trashy, domineering mother (Melissa Leo), but his loyalty to them is tested when his girlfriend (Amy Adams) points out they might actually be hindering his career. Will this emotional tug-of-war scupper his chances when he gets a shot a the big time? Based on a true story.

Is it any good? A solid boxing drama, featuring strong performances, although it never really gets the heart thumping and the fists pumping. Leo and Bale have the showier roles and duly collected a Best Supporting Oscar each for their fine efforts, but Wahlberg balances those turns with a quietly effective presence and also acquits himself admirably in the well-staged boxing scenes. In terms of structure and drama, there's probably nothing here you haven't seen before, but it's all put together confidently enough. 

Anything else I should know? Predictably, the subject of Bale's weight loss for his role dominated certain headlines as people obsessed over his amazing ability to become thin. His secret? He ate less and exercised more. Amazing. For his next film, he gains 143 stone to play a beached whale with a troubled past.

What does the Fonz think? Marky Marks out of 10? About 6

Buy it on Amazon

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