The true-life horse-racing tale "50 to 1" takes forever to get galloping — and when it finally does, it's too little too late.
Directed by Oscar-winning producer Jim Wilson ("Dances With Wolves") from a script he wrote with Faith Conroy, the movie over-focuses on the people surrounding longshot
Perhaps if the folks responsible for getting the crooked-footed equine to the big show that year (2009) were more interesting, the film could have soared where it sinks. But this "misfit group of New Mexico cowboys" (and one young woman) lack depth and dimension: hapless trainer Chip Woolley (Skeet Ulrich); the gelding's owners, Mark Allen (
Far too much of this plodding picture is spent on odd couple Chip and Alex's road trip transporting Mine That Bird to Kentucky. Forced atmospherics, clichéd action bits and some tone-deaf slapstick weigh things down as well.
As for the climactic race at
Though a likable presence, Ulrich never seems fully comfortable in his under-heroicized role. Worse, we get little sense of Woolley's training abilities; the character spends more time talking to his horse than putting him through the paces.
The acting throughout is, to be charitable, spotty, particularly from quite a few ill-chosen supporting players. These include Mine That Bird's actual jockey,
"50 to 1"
MPAA rating: PG-13 for some suggestive material and a bar brawl.
Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes.