★ ★ 1/2
You've no doubt heard that Crazy Heart is this year's version of The Wrestler. After all, that's how it's being promoted. Watching the film, it was entirely obvious that the director had the same comparison in mind. I'll spare you the suspense: It was nowhere near as good as The Wrester. Rather than capitalizing on the success of it's model, it was a victim of it's own ambition. If you're going to pattern your movie after a great film, it has to add something in order to avoid redundancy. By that metric, it failed. That is, unless you really liked the music.
Crazy Heart never quite captured the sense of inevitable decline found in The Wrestler, nor did it achieve the stasis of a film like Sideways. It's wasn't about a man who couldn't help himself. Rather, it was about a man marred by temporary setbacks of his own creation. It was neither sad, nor funny. Scott Cooper tried to recreate The Wrestler, but ended up with a sanitized version of Leaving Las Vegas. It wasn't a bad movie. It just wasn't particularly interesting.
As much as I like Jeff Bridges, I don't think that either he or Maggie Gyllenhaal deserved Academy Award nominations. They played the roles well, but they weren't roles that required much extension. Bridges was good, but not good enough to redeem an unremarkable film. After Mickey Rourke was overlooked for his role in The Wrestler, it would be insulting if Bridges were to take home an Oscar for a cheap knock off.