Release Date: May 18th, 2007 by Yari Film Group.
The Cast: Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Cannon, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, Carla Gugino, Grant Sullivan, Jay Mohr, Tim Roth.
Directed by Mark Rydell.
BASIC PREMISE: When Carol (Basinger) spends all of her family savings on gambling behind her husband’s (Liotta) back, she lets a magician (DeVito) help get her money back through more gambling. Clyde (Whitaker) also has gambling debts while betting for a college basketball player (Cannon) to win while Victor (Roth), a bookie, works for a mysterious crime boss.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Just by reading the basic premise, you can already sense how convoluted this ensemble drama turns out to be. Kim Basinger gives a mediocre performance as Carol who suffers from gambling addiction while her husband and rebellious teenage daughter suspect that she’s having an affair. She meets a magician who ludicrously promises to help her get back all the money she lost on gambling. Not only does Carol seem dumb, but she’s also rather bland and unconvincing as a character addicted to gambling. The other characters also come across as either one-dimensional, unrealistic or both—especially a bizarre detective played by Kelsey Grammer. Tim Roth is the only actor who seems to be having some fun with his underdeveloped role as a bookie. Recent Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whittaker gives an unremarkable performance her in an unremarkable role. Clearly, it takes a great, complex role like Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland to show off an actor’s abilities, kind of like a car needs fuel to run—here, Whittaker simply has no fuel and neither does anyone else. First-time screenwriter Robert Tannen fails to connect all of the storylines in a coherent, realistic and suspenseful way. If it were all played for laughs, the cartoonishness of the scenes and characters would make much more sense; instead it’s supposed to be taken seriously. Director Mark Rydell had once directed On Golden Pond, which had a far richer, focused and believable script with strong performances, much unlike Even Money.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Convoluted, contrived, unfocused and bland.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 9
IN A NUTSHELL: A terrific ensemble cast doesn’t compensate for a convoluted, contrived, unfocused plot with bland characters.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "E" Menu