Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The film is easy to take, though it must be said: It's almost 100 percent blather.
J. R. Jones,
Treacle takes over in the last act, but most of this fact-based story by screenwriters Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett takes the inspirational sports drama into unexpected and morally complex territory.
Wall Street Journal:
The movie itself -- which deals (not very interestingly) with the issue of journalistic integrity and (very predictably) with father-son relationships -- doesn't pack much of a wallop.
There's no rule that says a movie must have a likable character at its center, but it helps if a nonlikable central character is at least interesting.
Champ is a solid effort with a lot going for it, but it suggests that Lurie still isn't willing to relax and let viewers interpret his films.
Resurrecting the Champ bobs and weaves enough to avoid the usual sports cliches, but its too-earnest screenplay lays it on thick and pulls what could have been a knockout punch.
Resurrecting the Champ is one-sided Hollywood claptrap about honesty and valor, about how the truth, sigh, can set us free -- well, some of us.
Los Angeles Times:
...Resurrecting delivers a heckuva story marred by some credibility problems but lands the majority of its punches via subtly powerful performances and a moving undercard of paternal connection.
Resurrecting the Champ is authentic in its newsroom scenes, and appropriately concerned at how entertainment value trumps diligent reporting.
...director Lurie displays discipline and finesse in telling a compelling tale that explores the tensions between fathers and sons, and then some. Lurie and Jackson have also given audiences a rare and striking portrait of homelessness.
Jackson does some good work, sporting a high gasp of a voice and letting his character surface to reality smoothly, but the movie becomes too much of a morality play as it unwinds.
Speechy monologues on the responsibilities of journalism, the particular evil of infotainment, and the gooey sanctity of the bond between fathers and sons all but nullify Jackson's zesty performance.
Detroit Free Press:
In Lurie's Resurrecting the Champ, about the only cliche missing is somebody barking 'Get me rewrite!' into a Bakelite pay phone.
Dallas Morning News:
Despite generating plenty of turmoil, Resurrecting the Champ fails to be compelling. It does, however, succeed in being implausible.
When Resurrecting the Champ climbs off its high horse and makes itself comfortable within the contours of daily newsroom life, with its alternating languor and tension, the movie feels authentic and lived-in.
New York Daily News:
What is irony if not a movie whose production notes declare 'A film about truth demands authenticity' and is not authentic?
New York Post:
...authentic isn't the word I'd use for this maudlin male weepie, a compendium of the worst cliches of sports and journalism movies.
Even if it doesn't bring the nearly dead boxing film back to life, Resurrection offers a revealing peek into reporting and the ways it can go wrong, coming from the best or most crass intentions.
Though sensitively acted by Jackson, this solemn sermonette from Rod Lurie struggles to get off the ropes and never quite establishes its rhythm.
Jackson disappears into his role, completely convincing, but then he usually is. What a fine actor.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Resurrecting the Champ is enjoyable in the moment -- But it's the complexity of Lurie's moral universe that makes it linger in the mind.
Globe and Mail:
The relationship between reporter and subject is always a tricky one, but in Resurrecting the Champ it's downright delusional.
While Resurrecting the Champ seems to be just what you expect, it's only when you've let your guard slip that you realize it's hiding something altogether more forceful in its glove.
Hardly anything feels real, but what feels even more unreal is Hartnett with a cloying, sentimental, self-pitying performance. The liveliest thing in the film is the great Jackson, slumming again in a role miles beneath him.