Critic Consensus: Chuck is hit with a handful of sports biopic clichés but ultimately punches above its weight, largely thanks to a muscular performance from Liev Schreiber.
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Critic Reviews for Chuck
It may not go the distance, but it's surely worth a step into the ring.
Liev Schreiber is top-notch in the lead role in this funny, sad and warm cautionary tale.
The downfall isn't as satisfying as the setup, and a sudden burst of energy associated with the introduction of cocaine actually acts to slow things down, but it's worth seeing for the performances.
Liev Schreiber is outstanding as the hulking, rough-edged, amiable and charismatic Wepner.
His fall and redemption are a little too familiar to carry the movie, but there's an odd hall-of-mirrors quality to all this: prone to quoting Requiem for a Heavyweight, Wepner is transmogrified into the movies himself.
Audience Reviews for Chuck
Here's a boxing film that might fight itself into your top ten sports movies. Director Philippe Falardeau hits all the right notes: gets knockout performances from the entire cast, jabs and weaves a moving story, and lands a convincing production set in 1970s New Jersey.
An indie drama, Chuck tells the story of the real life Rocky, Chuck the "Bayonne Bleeder" Wepner. The film follows professional Philadelphia boxer Chuck Wepner who gets a shot at the heavy weight boxing championship with Muhammad Ali, and soon after learns that Hollywood has made a film inspired by the fight and his life, and becomes obsessed with the film and rides its fame. Liev Schreiber gives a really strong performance, as does Naomi Watts. And the script has a nice pace and does a good job at using a first person narrative. However, it's a little underdeveloped; not going too much into his boxing career or substance abuse issues. Also, the plot is kind of familiar; following a typical biopic formula with a rise, a fall, and a redemption. Yet despite its problems, Chuck is an interesting and cautionary tale about the dangers of reflected glory.
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