This is the rare film that combines the narrative thrust and suspense of an Anderson Cooper 360 episode with the shameless schmaltz and racially dicey casting choices of an old-school Hollywood biopic.
In trying to breathe life into too many characters, the screenplay transforms them all into thinly-drawn caricatures. In focusing on its feel-good, inspirational ending, it fails to make nearly 2 hours of hardship a worthwhile experience.
The 33 is not a failure. It's a crowd-pleasing, sentimental, middle-of-the-road venture suitable for any audience. And that's a pity, because the subject matter cries out for a much more muscular treatment.