User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 42
  2. Negative: 4 out of 42
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  1. ShannonP.
    Feb 16, 2004
    3
    If you?re looking for a movie with new or at least real insights about Vegas, gambling, casinos or just life itself?this movie will profoundly disappoint. The script seems based more on the writer?s fantasy of what these things might be like, based in turn on other mediocre movies and television productions. The problem is compounded by a number of implausible premises?not the least of If you?re looking for a movie with new or at least real insights about Vegas, gambling, casinos or just life itself?this movie will profoundly disappoint. The script seems based more on the writer?s fantasy of what these things might be like, based in turn on other mediocre movies and television productions. The problem is compounded by a number of implausible premises?not the least of which is the basic concept of a ?cooler.? There are also many implausible plot twists?especially a scene at the end. I won?t give that away though, which would spoil your chance to experience some real indignation?the strongest emotion this film will evoke. On the upside, there are so many cliches strung together that before long they lose their sting and you just accept that you will inhabit a dumbed-down world for the next two hours. Even given that resignation, there is a lot here that is so derivative its still painful. For example, there is a scene in which a young gambler mocks an older gambler while shooing craps that is lifted straight out of Hard Eight. (In the former movie, however, the scene played out in a natural way that was actually poignant, whereas here the audience is ultimately indulged as the old man loses it and physically brutalizes his obnoxious antagonist.) As if to compensate for the underlying fantasy, the film is shot so harshly that we can see every ?real? flaw in the actors' faces. They even manage to make Maria Bellow look awful. There is one scene in which the sex is portrayed as so awkward that the audience is apparently supposed to conclude this movie must somehow be ?real.? At least the acting isn?t truly bad, although Bellow works so hard to make her uneducated, working class character seem believable that at times you feel the character may be retarded. Of course, Macy is great at playing losers, but we?ve seen that so many times before that at times you may forget which movie this is. Baldwin is actually great, once you get past the fact that the character he is playing couldn?t exist in this century. This is another fact not lost on film makers?, who attempt to compensate by inserting multiple references to the character and his methods as ?old school.? In the end, the attempts to manipulate the audience into accepting a wildly implausible story are worse that the story itself. Expand
  2. ScottA.
    Jun 5, 2004
    2
    I can't believe that this movie got "generally favourable" reviews. This has got be one of the worst movies I've ever seen, save for the acting. Apparantly, Las Vegas has no law enforcement whatsoever, except for hitmen dressed like police who are available -- costume, siren, and all -- at extremely short notice, but take a ridiculously long time to pull the trigger. And why a I can't believe that this movie got "generally favourable" reviews. This has got be one of the worst movies I've ever seen, save for the acting. Apparantly, Las Vegas has no law enforcement whatsoever, except for hitmen dressed like police who are available -- costume, siren, and all -- at extremely short notice, but take a ridiculously long time to pull the trigger. And why a character would threaten to kill you, beat up your girlfriend, and then beat up another guy for suggesting not to let someone walk away with lots of money is completely beyond me. And how come in this movie the older guys have no trouble kicking the younger people's asses? Something just doesn't make sense. The plot is SO slow, it seems like the movie has finished and nothing at all has happened. And there is no twist at the end; you could see it coming from the beginning which at the point seemed like days ago. This movie is so bad, and if you are reading this, I urge you: SEE SOMETHING ELSE! I hear Waterworld is good. Expand
  3. YuvalF
    Oct 24, 2004
    2
    Thank god for Scott's review. I thought I was gonna go crazy. What the hell is wrong with everyone? This has to be the WORST plot I've seen in the last decade. It doesn't make any sense. None of the action or re-actions makes any sense. The acting is pretty impressive, but how can you enjoy a movie with such weak plot? Awful story. Awful writing. Good acting, but nothing else.
  4. PValentine
    Jan 27, 2006
    2
    The whimsy is undercut by the violence and the sex and while it got the whole aura of a dusty casino and dusty people down what was interesting about it? The "love" story was NOT believable to me at the "I'm willing to lose my life for him" level.
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Alex Kranz
    75
    Driving the plot, Baldwin gives an inexorable, career-marking performance.
  2. 88
    Wayne Kramer, who co-wrote the scrappy script with Frank Hannah, makes a potent directing debut and strikes gold with the cast.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    90
    Wayne Kramer's sexy and often humorous feature directorial debut surrounds its sweet center with the energy, flash and risk of the gambling capital. Sterling performances by William H. Macy and Maria Bello as the long-shot lovers and Alec Baldwin as a temperamental casino operator.