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'Cutie and the Boxer' follows two married artists and their struggles

The marriage depicted in 'Cutie' seems like it would be more difficult than the movie will admit.

By Peter Rainer / August 16, 2013

'Cutie and the Boxer' stars Ushio (l.) and Noriko (r.) Shinohara.

Courtesy of Radius-TWC

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Ushio Shinohara was a minor celebrity artist in the New York pop art scene of the 1970s; his wife, Noriko, his not-altogether-accommodating assistant, is an artist in her right. In Zachary Heinzerling’s documentary “Cutie and the Boxer,” 80-year-old Ushio is on the comeback trail with an impending show. Noriko has her own presentation: Her fanciful drawings feature herself as the wide-eyed “Cutie” opposite a mock-up of Ushio, who in real life specializes in painting while weaing boxing gloves.

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Their 40-year marriage seems like more of a trial than this overweening, lightly likable movie acknowledges. This is a guy, after all, who is fond of saying things like, “The average one has to support the genius.” He’s no genius. Grade: C+ (Rated R for nude art images.)

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