October 18, 1993 12:00 PM

Sean Astin, Ned Beatty, Charles Dutton

If you have seen Rudy’s trailer, you’ve seen the movie. There’s really not much more going on here than a straightforward depiction of how plucky, blue-collar Daniel E. “Rudy” Ruettiger (played winningly by the puppylike Astin), a mediocre student and undersize athlete, overcomes numerous obstacles to finally suit up and take the field for the Fighting Irish. Director David Anspaugh and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo (the duo responsible for the similar but superior 1986 basketball film Hoosiers) treat Rudy’s struggle to wear a jock with the big boys with the same reverence and sincerity as the story of Dr. Jonas Salk.

And yet…no matter how hardhearted you plan on being while viewing this determinedly inspirational, based-on-a-true-story corn, damned if Rudy doesn’t end up not just pulling at your heartstrings but yanking ’em out and twirling them around like spaghetti. Will you feel manipulated? Is the Dome golden? In the end Rudy succeeds in spite of yourself. (PG)

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