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Crazy Heart

Year: 2009
Production Co: Butcher's Run Films
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Director: Scott Cooper
Producer: Scott Cooper
Writer: Scott Cooper
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell

As the sign in a million offices the world over paraphrases, you don't have to like country music to like this film, but it helps. It's hard to believe this America still exists in a world of super fast wireless internet, red carpets and private space travel.

But a burned out country and western singer named Bad Blake (Bridges) - whose real name is Otis, no less - plays small town bowling alleys with carparks overgrown by weeds, paying for his own drinks and stumbling outside to throw up in a garbage bin halfway through his set, wondering what happened to his life when he used to be on top.

What made it even harder to invest myself in it was seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal on the poster as Bridges' co-star. I hoped she was going to play his daughter, but she is indeed his lover as the reporter who falls under the spell of his charm. And yes, it's a little creepy and a little gross.

It's a redemption tale as Bad comes to terms with his former protégé who's now a big star on the strength of his coat-tails (Farrell) and his hot young girlfriend offers him a chance to come back to the world he's turned his back on to drown his sorrows.

It's a well enough made if slightly pedestrian film, and even though Bridges is always a pleasure to watch you can't help thinking about the number of times you've seen it all before.

That's particularly the case as for a great part of the movie very little happens. You spend a long time expecting grand drama when really the film just takes its sweet time setting up a lot of dominoes before the inevitable fall.

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