Release Date: October 7th, 2005 by Universal Pictures.
The Cast: Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo, Armand Asante, Jeremy Piven, Jaime King.
Directed by D.J. Caruso.
BASIC PREMISE: After a serious injury, football player Brandon (McConaughey) joins a firm that specializes in sports-gambling owned by Walter (Pacino).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The best part of this movie is Al Pacino’s usually strong performance as the greedy boss. He knows how to raise his voice and always speaks with conviction. If only the script would have made his character more interesting. How many times do we have to be reminded that he is greedy? The first time we meet him, he is already talking about money over the phone. That would have been enough. McConaughey gives a mediocre performance as Brandon, but the camera certainly makes him look like a hunk, especially with many scenes with his shirt off. Although her character becomes slightly important later on, until then, Rene Russo has very little to do as Toni, Walter’s wife. The plot is very unoriginal and mostly unsurprising—essentially, it is a rehash of Wall Street. The only surprise is a sudden cut to Armand Assante as a wealthy client. Somehow, the plot involves a circus elephant which is a very unnecessary and unfunny scene as it goes down a street. Unfortunately, the script is weak and many scenes seem forced as well as redundant. Moreover, it is very difficult to believe how Brandon can convince so many gamblers to risk nearly all their life’s savings on one bet. It is difficult to relate the any of the characters because they are all one-dimensional and unrealistic. The few football scenes are more exciting and engaging than the movie itself.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The basic message is that greed is unhealthy and that money is a deceptive way of living happily. Gambling is also a bad habit. Ultimately, this movie says nothing new or profound about any of these topics. INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Formulaic, unoriginal plot and a stilted script.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
THE BOTTOM LINE: This is a poorly-written, unoriginal movie that cannot be saved by Al Pacino’s usually strong performance.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "T" Menu