'Legendary'

It almost seems like 2010 marks the Year of the Loser.

It almost seems like 2010 marks the Year of the Loser. While the recent “Calvin Marshall” ended with a barful of drinkers toasting a baseball washout, “Legendary” finds an entire gymnasium fervently applauding a wrestling also-ran in this vehicle for “WWE Raw” star John Cena that’s produced by World Wrestling Entertainment. Patricia Clarkson adds class and Danny Glover sprinkles inspiration as a broken family is healed through sports. Better thesped and helmed than its schmaltzy premise probably warrants, the pic reaches beyond ringside TV auds, bowing in scattered theatrical venues Sept. 9.

Sweet, dorky high-schooler Cal (Devon Graye) determinedly strives to bring his hulking ex-con brother Mike (Cena) back into the fold and reunite him with their mother (Clarkson).

He improbably takes up wrestling, the sport that Mike and their deceased dad legendarily dominated. Despite Cal’s late start and 97-pound-weakling physique, workouts with Cena and rousing cliches from Glover propel him up the rankings to a heart-warming, differently triumphant finale. Cast generally handles John Posey’s sententious script with welcome understatement (though sometimes Glover nearly sprouts guardian angel wings) and vet smallscreen helmer Damski keeps things flowing briskly.

Legendary

Production

A Samuel Goldwyn Films release of a WWE Studios presentation. Produced by Steve Barnett, Mike Pavone, David Karl Calloway. Directed by Mel Damski. Screenplay, John Posey.

Crew

Camera (color), Kenneth Zunder; editor, Mitch Stanley; music, James A. Johnson; production designer, Claire Breaux. Reviewed at Magno Review, New York, Aug. 24, 2010. Running time: 107 MIN.

Cast

With: John Cena, Patricia Clarkson, Devon Graye, Danny Glover, Tyler Posey, Madeluinbe Martin, John Posey.

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