Bad's a man in free-fall, until an unexpected meeting prompts him to put on the brakes. He meets an aspiring journalist named Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a single Mom with a cute four-year-old son. Jean wants an interview with the legendary Bad. He pours on the charm, such as it is. Jean's earthy and earnest and swears that she knows better than to fall for another loser. In the country music dictionary, Bad's pretty much the definition of a loser. Jean falls for him anyway, and the implausibility of the romance - they're decades apart in age; he's a dissolute, self-destructive, alcoholic rogue who can barely be trusted with a lit cigarette, let alone a child - runs the movie right off the road.
The romantic plot of Crazy Heart just doesn't work - it's implausible on multiple levels, and like a few other plot developments, glib and too easy - but the movie's other elements do work. Plot aside, the screenplay features believable dialogue, and there are strong performances and great music. Bridges is really terrific as Bad, giving a worn-in, lived-in performance that's all sweat, flab and heart. Bridges does his own singing, too; as does Colin Farrell, who plays Tommy Sweet, a one-time Bad Blake prot?g? whose star has risen as Bad's has fallen. They've got some mighty fine songs to croon: songs of loss and longing and better days written by T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton.
Crazy Heart is a sad, moving portrait of a world-weary, self-pitying man sliding into self-inflicted oblivion with a howl, but not really putting up much of a fight. He's not so far gone, though, that he doesn't recognize a last chance when he sees it.