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What follows starts out as broad pharmaceutical comedy (Viagra! Prolonged erections!) before morphing into mushy therapeutic drama (“I’ll need you more than you’ll need me!”). And while the notion of romantic love as a kind of instant curative for unpleasant personal symptoms has a certain appeal, it also makes for unengaging storytelling. If love is just a drug, who cares? There’s not much reason to watch a movie about a guy discovering that he can take an aspirin for his headache — even when the guy is as pretty as Mr. Gyllenhaal and the aspirin as comely as Ms. Hathaway.

— Matthew Lickona



Boxing Gym

Documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s sustained gaze into the interior of Lord’s Boxing Gym in Austin, Texas. There is no narrative to speak of, and besides proprietor Richard Lord — a former pro whose gentle words of wisdom and exhortation slide out of his mouth with the slow sweetness of Texas honey — there are hardly any characters. No soundtrack, no interviews, no voiceover, no background. Instead, you get a profound sense of what has to be done to a human body to ready it for the ring and of the amazing variety of souls willing to submit to the regimen. Amateur and pro, all ages, all races, all backgrounds, both genders. The sense of community is so strong, you almost forget they’re there to punch each other.

— Matthew Lickona

★★

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