The Fighter

Rated 3.0

This “based on a true story” biopic has a flavorsome assortment of discordant, half-baked realities on display—a fantasy-league boxing saga, a dysfunctional family’s tragicomic melodrama, a slice of working-class life (in Lowell, Mass.), a bizarre episode of drugs and crime, a long overdue rite of passage for the title character, a tale of two rather mismatched brothers who are nevertheless rather blindly devoted to each other. With Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg playing the two boxer brothers, this movie has no lack of iconic star power, but the two lead performances don’t mesh nearly as much as the film really needs. The characterizations suffer as a result, and the most significantly focused acting in the film is left to others. Wahlberg is generically hunky in the title role, and Bale is a nonstop freak show of gimpy tics, leers and twitches. These two dominate the screen, but the most focused and coherent performances turn up in a key pair of supporting roles—Melissa Leo as the brothers’ swaggeringly delusional mother and, best of all, Amy Adams as Micky’s smart, brassy girlfriend. Cinemark 14 and Feather River Cinemas. Rated R