PLAY IT TO THE BONE
(director/writer: Ron Shelton; cinematographer: Mark Vargo; editors: Paul Seydor/Patrick Flannery; music: Alex Wurman; cast: Antonio Banderas (Cesar Dominguez), Woody Harrelson (Vince Boudreau), Lolita Davidovich (Grace Pasic), Tom Sizemore (Joe Domino), Lucy Liu (Lia), Robert Wagner (Hank Goody), Richard Masur (Artie), Willie Garson (Cappie Caplan), Cylk Cozart (Rudy), Jack Carter (Dante Solomon), With: Jim Lampley, George Foreman, Larry Merchant, Darrell Foster, Steve Lawrence, Mitch Halpern, Chuck Hull, Buddy Greco, Kevin Costner, James Woods, Mike Tyson, Rod Stewart; Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Stephen Chin; Buena Vista Pictures; 1999)
“A sometimes funny boxing screwball comedy.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A sometimes funny boxing screwball comedy directed and written by Ron Shelton (“Bull Durham“/”Tin Cup”/”White Men Can’t Jump“), who specializes in sports films. The plot is far-fetched, and the film is too absurd to be a winner. But it wins a few rounds.
On the eve of the Las Vegas heavyweight title fight, called the “Fight of the Century,” featuring Mike Tyson, the boxers scheduled for the under-card turn up dead. As a result, two aging, unknown and untalented lightweight fighters, Cesar (Antonio Banderas) and Vince (Woody Harrelson), long-time friends from LA, are asked to fight each other as replacements on the card. The guys have 12 hours to get to the arena, and receive no airline tickets. They are instead driven to Vegas by the feisty Grace (Lolita Davidovich), Vince’s ex-girlfriend and now Cesar’s girlfriend. They give a ride to hitch-hiker Lia (Lucy Liu), a junkie nymphomaniac, in Grace’s ’72 Olds. After some snappy travel dialogue, the party arrives on time and the boys fight each other to win $100,000 and the title.
The pic never says much about the boxing world and its questionable ethics, is only marginally funny in spots and its set-up is too ridiculous to let the pic go on without stopping it for a self-examination.
REVIEWED ON 6/27/2015 GRADE: C+