Play it to the Bone

Play it to the Bone is a day in the life of two washed out boxers (and friends) who get a chance at a second fifteen minutes of fame---by fighting each other.

The boxers in question are Vince Boudreau (Woody Harrelson) and Cesar Dominguez (Antonio Banderas). Both have seen better days, when they were close to the top of the middleweight boxing world. Now as their sparks fade, they receive a call from promoters in Las Vegas (promoting a Tyson fight) who have lost their own undercard boxers and want the two friends to fight each other. After a bit of clever negotiation (where Vince manages to wrangle a shot at the title for the winner), Vince, Cesar, and Cesar's girlfriend Grace Pasic (Lolita Davidovich) all get in her car and begin a road trip to Vegas from Los Angeles.

The first half of the movie chronicles the trip. There is rivalry between Cesar and Vince, both from a competitive boxing perspective, and also because Vince used to go out with Grace. There's also conflict arising from the fact that Cesar was gay for a year, and Vince sees Jesus on a regular basis. A lot of their bickering dominates the road trip, punctuated by the presence of Lia (Lucy Liu), who provides some excitement for Vince.

The second half of the film involves a pretty detailed (and gruesome) fight between Vince and Cesar. The ending is a cop-out, but the message the movie makes is that the spirited fight between Vince and Cesar puts the seconds-long match that Tyson had to shame.

I find boxing to be a pretty inane sport, especially given my pacifistic leanings, and this movie showcases exactly why the sport is an ugly one. It amazes me how boxers and boxing fans can proclaim outrage over various sundry incidents (for example, the length of Tyson's fight) when the sport they endorse is moronic at best. As Jim Mullen said, "Ear Biting: It's disgusting. Not at all like the good, clean fun of hitting someone in the face over and over as hard as you can."

Play it to the Bone is a good time killer. But if you have better things to do, I recommend spending your time more wisely.

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala ||