I'm all for someone breaking out of the genre they've become known for. When it comes to Meg Ryan though, a staple of romantic comedies since "Sleepless in Seattle", her recent forays into more dramatic genres actually have me praying for the likes of "You've Got More Mail" and "Another French Kiss". If "In the Cut" wasn't bad enough, along comes 'Ropes' - a strange variation on "Rocky" which charts not just the rise of a young boxer from the slums but his female manager's rise as well to nearly eclipse him.
The story and script is simply tired, we've seen all this 'upcoming champ' sort of crap before in TV movies. The thing is it gets worse thanks Meg's character. After chucking a "Jerry Maguire" and taking a risk, when she makes it big we're supposed to cheer her on. The trouble is she turns into a utter snobby princess for a good deal of the movie, only to lose it all and try and gain our sympathy by which time we no longer care (and many will think she deserved far worse). Not helping the fact is Ryan's performance. Clad in cleavage revealing colourful leather outfits that look like something out of a Las Vegas show, Ryan has an utterly atrocious attempt at an accent which sounds more like a duck than a New Yorker. Epps isn't much better, playing the anger right but never really investing in his role. Dutton just seems asleep. Surprisingly it's the usually bland Tim Daly who ends up becoming the most likable element in all this.
Like any movie of the same ilk, it's not so much bad as it is dull. The story is so derivative it's painful, the action starts well but ends too quickly, the moral lessons are so painfully obvious but the character bonds (esp. with some of the smaller players) are underexplored. We see films like this every other week, it's a real shame that real talent like Ryan and Dutton got involved in such shite.