starring Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo
screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
directed by David O. Russell
by Walter Chaw In this episode of Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals, former Funky-Bunch yogi and butt-model Wahlberg gets in the ring, but his real challenge comes in the upstaging Method skull-sharpening of Christian Bale and all the white-trash broads of Style Channel's Bostonburba-licious. Oscar-baiting is the least of the picture's myriad crimes, though--tune in to director David O. Russell's absolutely gassed The Fighter for a training montage, an inexplicable '80s soundtrack (pop quiz: Last time Whitesnake used in a film without irony? It's a trick question), and a Rocky trajectory to the Big Fight, this time with Hollywood ending intact. Through it all, centring it like a brick on a shit-blanket, is Wahlberg, his dim-bulb "Say hi to your mother for me, all right?" persona the immovable object stalemating the plot's unstoppable force. The only thing really surprising about The Fighter is that Ron Howard didn't direct it.