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August 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Recent biographical sketches and books about the late James Brown have depicted a chaotic life of a man whose magnificent talent as a performer was often offset by appalling behavior as a human being. That’s hard to pull off in a two-hour movie, and most critics agree that the makers of Get On Up have had limited success in doing so. Chris Vognar remarks in the Dallas Morning News, "Get On Up captures some of the essence, but Brown is too unwieldy, mercurial and just plain massive to fit inside this brand new bag." What the filmmakers get right, the critics say, is the music — and Chadwick Boseman’s recreation of Brown, they conclude, says more about the man than the script does. "It’s hard not to feel good while watching Chadwick Boseman exuberantly disappear into the role of the Godfather of Soul," Claudia Puig remarks in USA Today. Brad Wheeler in the Toronto Globe and Mail says that the movie "thrives on a thrilling soundtrack, a doozy of a yarn and Chadwick Boseman’s dynamite-powered portrayal of Brown." And Ty Burr comments in the Boston Globe: "The two men look nothing alike, yet Boseman convinces in the spring of the walk, the confident slur of the talk, and, above all, the sweat — the discipline, effort, and joy — he puts into every waking moment." In the end, writes Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times, the film is disappointing. "Despite the linked advantages of generous helpings of the man’s high octane music and a star performance by Chadwick Boseman that’s little short of heroic, "Get on Up" is more frustrating than fulfilling, a disjointed film that suffers from having a more ambitious plan than it’s got the ability to execute."