Stop me if you've heard this one before: Jeff Bridges plays a down-on-his-luck, charismatic, aging hipster stuck in an era past his hey-day.

No, it's not a 'Big Lebowski' sequel. It's 'Crazy Heart,' director Scott Cooper's film adaptation of Thomas Cobb's novel about Bad Blake (Bridges), a Dude-like country singer running on the fumes of his former success, until he meets a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) interested in an interview, and maybe a little bit more.

But while the film has a few similarities to 'Lebowski', critics have been quick to point out that they're surface at best. Bridges is winning across-the-board raves, not just for his low-fi, honest portrayal of Blake, but also for his soulful, heartbreaking singing voice in the film's twangy musical numbers (produced by T-Bone Burnett).

Critics also love the ensemble around Bridges, particularly Gyllenhaal and Colin Farrell, who appears in an extended cameo as one of Blake's music industry frienemies. Check out the reviews. Stop me if you've heard this one before: Jeff Bridges plays a down-on-his-luck, charismatic, aging hipster stuck in an era past his hey-day.

No, it's not a 'Big Lebowski' sequel. It's 'Crazy Heart,' director Scott Cooper's film adaptation of Thomas Cobb's novel about Bad Blake (Bridges), a Dude-like country singer running on the fumes of his former success, until he meets a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) interested in an interview, and maybe a little bit more.

But while the film has a few similarities to 'Lebowski', critics have been quick to point out that they're surface at best. Bridges is winning across-the-board raves, not just for his low-fi, honest portrayal of Blake, but also for his soulful, heartbreaking singing voice in the film's twangy musical numbers (produced by T-Bone Burnett).

Critics also love the ensemble around Bridges, particularly Gyllenhaal and Colin Farrell, who appears in an extended cameo as one of Blake's music industry frienemies. Check out the reviews.

Salon: "'Crazy Heart' is one of those pictures that's more valuable for everything it doesn't do. Some of the plot turns are fully predictable, though the story also refuses to go into some of the constricting corners you're sure it's headed for...[It's] exceptionally modest in both its ambitions and its scope, which may be why I've already heard some fellow critics grumbling that there's no there there. But again, the actors are the destination themselves."

Village Voice: "The part is a vindication of Bridges' unaffected talent and is his best in years. He's as good a reactor as actor, so patient and sedentary that his performance's quiet ache sneaks up on you when he's doing nothing more dramatic than settling onto a barstool."

New York Times: "What does Jean see in this wreck? Mr. Bridges, settling into Mr. Cooper's understated script as if he'd written it himself, makes the answer both obvious and a little enigmatic. There is a playboy's charm and an old-fashioned Southern courtliness half-hidden behind the weariness, the anger at squandered possibilities, the flabby gut and the unkempt beard. This fellow may be bad, but he's also dignified."

'Crazy Heart' Trailer

Associated Press:
"The real behind-the-scenes stars are T Bone Burnett, also a producer on 'Crazy Heart,' and his songwriting collaborator Stephen Bruton, who died of cancer last spring as production was wrapping on the film ...The songs become anthems inhabited by Bridges, whose Bad Blake may wish his life had turned out differently but is never going to dribble tears in his shot glass so long as he still can find a stage somewhere to belt out a tune."

Los Angeles Times:
"Farrell, who sings a great duet with Bridges, is one of the film's surprise treats, proving, as he did in "In Bruges," that he is more relaxed and effective in off-beat alternate leads than classic hero parts. 'Crazy Heart' isn't only one of Bridges' most memorable roles, it's one of Farrell's as well."

Variety: "Like a relaxed country tune, Cooper's direction is amiable but a tad leisurely; the tyro helmer puts the story and character values across, but a little more snap wouldn't have hurt. The New Mexico-shot feature looks fine, and real-life concert settings bring a convincing feel to the performance scenes, as do the solid vocals by Bridges and Farrell."

Get more 'Crazy Heart' reviews at RottenTomatoes.com.


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CATEGORIES Reviews