Those negative 42 reviews from Variety‘s Scott Foundas and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy (plus my own briefly expressed disappointment) might suggest to some that Brian Helgeland‘s film has been roundly condemned. It hasn’t. It currently has a 70% Rotten Tomatoes rating and a 60% Metacritic score. Ticket buyers traditionally don’t have a huge problem with square, on-the-nose films of this sort. I’ve no tracking information to share.
From Coed.dom’s Phil Villarreal: “While Jackie Robinson’s story is worthy of respect and admiration, director-writer Brian Helgeland shows conclusively that even a great man’s life can be incredibly repetitive and boring. “42 can find no other conflict or resolution than Robinson getting treated like crap, then proceeding to play such incredibly great baseball that it’s accompanied by extremely loud trumpet swells.
“Chadwick Boseman, as Robinson, does an excellent job of playing a man with a female name. One might argue, in fact, that Boseman does a better job of playing Robinson than Robinson himself did playing himself in The Jackie Robinson Story back in 1950.
“Harrison Ford does a solid job as Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, who, as baseball historians love to note, showed incredible bravery in bringing Robinson into the Majors. Poor Rickey had to sit there and watch as Robinson got hit in the head, spiked on the base paths and shunned in the locker room as Rickey counted mounds of cash that Robinson made him. Ford does a good job of conveying the plight of an incredibly rich old man who watches stuff happen while wearing a poker face.”