Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 33
  2. Negative: 20 out of 33
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  1. 38
    The movie doesn't know how odd it seems to cut from the bloodshed in the ring to the dialogue of the supporting players, who still think they're in a comedy.
  2. 40
    (Shelton) knows how to write pungent dialogue that covers a multitude of sins when the film goes off the rails.
  3. A boxing film with no conflictual punch.
  4. Either Shelton knows this world well, or he's such a great bluffer it doesn't matter.
  5. Are they fools or heroes? Because the movie can't decide, neither can we. And without an emotional payoff, Play It to the Bone ends up stranded in serio-comic limbo.
  6. As dopey as its heroes, and the cast's admirable energy isn't enough to keep the story punching through the final round.
  7. 70
    Throws us directly into the ring for one of the most brutal fight scenes in American film.
  8. 10
    Doesn't quite have the goods.
  9. Even when his work is at its most contrived, which it certainly is here, writer-director Ron Shelton is the best purveyor of jock humor around.
  10. Does not live up to its name. It's more like White Men Can't Box, Either.
  11. A punch-drunk lightweight. Inside the ring, it lands some forceful punches. Outside the ring, it stumbles around, swinging wildly at nothing, until it collapses.
  12. A wonderfully entertaining, raunchy, hilarious and savage foray into the lives of a couple of beat-up middle-weight boxers who get a second chance.
  13. Ron Shelton's boxing pic is long on road work but strictly a flyweight.
  14. 58
    The film is nothing much to look at and has trouble swallowing its own clichs and implausibilities.
  15. Fghting your heart out at the end of this movie can't win the prize or the crowd.
  16. In this movie, he (Shelton) falls so hard he becomes, for the first time in his career, genuinely offensive.
  17. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Isn't going to be a contender
  18. Benefits from an amiable chemistry between Harrelson and Banderas, and Davidovich always makes a good tough-as-nails dame with more smarts than any man will give her credit for.
  19. 20
    As dull as the decor in a Motel 6.
  20. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    A woefully under-realized story of small-time boxers enjoying perhaps their last moment in the spotlight.
  21. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Never achieves more than feckless amiability.
  22. 10
    The journey is a yawn -- an outpouring of backstory, punctuated by cute episodic diversions and ill-advised running gags.
  23. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    This is still Ron Shelton in good -- not great, but good -- form here, and the rewards are plentiful.
  24. Reviewed by: Steve Simels
    Vince and Cesar have been written to evoke equal audience sympathy, so there's no suspense whatsover in the outcome of their climactic match-up, the brutal realism of Shelton's staging notwithstanding.
  25. Another invigorating, extremely raunchy sports movie from Ron Shelton .
  26. 32
    Shelton attempts to fashion a kind of road movie-love triangle-sports flick. He fails on all three counts.
  27. 25
    If you really love "Bull Durham," don't go near Play It to the Bone. It will break your heart.
  28. Reviewed by: Edvins Beitiks
    A wicked, light-headed first half dissolves into a bloody, head-bashing second half . The previews make it seem like a comedy. It isn't.
  29. Reviewed by: Kevin Stuart
    A half-hearted comedy whose jokes are far from a knockout.
  30. Reviewed by: David Ehrenstein
    A road movie trapped in a cul-de-sac.
  31. Reviewed by: Kellam Eanes
    Despite some redeemable comic dialog between Banderas and Harrelson, most of the movie is TKO.

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