The Chronic Critic is no sports fan, but she does love a good sports movie. From One on One (starring 1970s heartthrob Robby Benson) to Rocky and from Prefontaine (and Without Limits -- another movie about Steve Prefontaine, the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen) to the recent The Blind Side, this critic has been known to get teary in sports movies about sports she doesn't even pretend to understand.
Invictus is not among those movies.
This critic is not immune to Matt Damon's charms (or impressive arms and abs), and she believes Morgan Freeman to be perhaps the most benevolent and welcome screen presence of our times. So, to pan a movie with two great stars whose subject is Nelson Mandela -- a political prisoner/president/modern-day hero -- doesn't please her in the least.
But, the presence of (and solid performances by) Damon and Freeman cannot compensate for a dull script, lackluster characters, uniformly wooden performances by the supporting cast and repetitive scenes. (How many times do we have to watch Mandela shake hands with each member of the rugby team?)
We never get to know Damon's character, nor any of his teammates. (It's a little hard to root for a team you care nothing about.) The movie would have us believe that crime, the economy and other ills were of little concern to Mandela. Dammit, he just wanted the national rugby team to win the World Cup. And, then the country's blacks and whites would be united and everyone would live happily ever after.
Clint Eastwood has directed movies both remarkable (Million Dollar Baby) and forgettable (Gran Torino). Invictus falls into the latter category. Skip it.