A real-life model for Rocky Balboa, Chuck Wepner went almost 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali in 1975, though as this hearty biopic asserts, Wepner wasn't exactly the honorable underdog Sylvester Stallone wrote and played in Rocky: he cheated on his wife, neglected his daughter, and slid into the 70s cocaine culture as his career fizzled out. Liev Schreiber, working with the humanistic French director Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar), plays Wepner as a lovable ham, more stupid than malicious, though this angle on him is disrupted regularly by Elisabeth Moss as Wepner's wife, who points out his selfishness. 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 (1955), Wepner is transmogrified into the movies himself, and with this truer-to-life drama he's back for another round. With Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, and Morgan Spector doing a dead-on Stallone.
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Producer: Christa Campbell, Lati Grobman, Carl Hampe, Liev Schreiber, Michael Tollin, Avi Lerner and Jeff Rice
Cast: Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman, Jim Gaffigan, Morgan Spector, Pooch Hall, Wass Stevens, Melo Ludwig, Sadie Sink, Michael Rapaport, Jen Ponton, Catherine Corcoran, Ivan Martin and Wiliam Hill