Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 41 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Look for realism, and you'll find The Cooler disappointing. Look for a far-fetched yarn that's as unpredictable as a throw of the dice, though, and you'll find it engaging fun.
  2. 88
    The acting is on the money, the writing has substance, the direction knows when to evoke film noir and when (in a trick shot involving loaded dice) to get fancy.
  3. 83
    The highlights of The Cooler -- the portrait of Bernie-as-schlub, the ecstatic union of two losers, the depiction of shadowy old Vegas confronted with its sanitized corporate future -- are superb. You can easily live with the rest to get to them.
  4. A lot of fun early in the evening, when the Rat Pack ambiance is novel, but gets bleary by 4 a.m. in the story.
  5. 70
    Hokey and convoluted, but as a sticky-hearted fable of redemption, it's surprisingly seductive.
  6. 63
    And although The Cooler doesn't do anything fresh with its Vegas milieu, the movie is refreshingly frank and astute when it comes to depicting sex.
  7. Lost me early on with its show-offy shooting and editing, portentous metaphysical conceits about winners and losers, and exaggerated displays of evil, violence, and deceit.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. MatthewB.
    Apr 19, 2010
    Awful film. While Leaving los vegas was revolutionary, this pursues the same situation, if not the same story, with little realism or panache. Alec Baldwin's actin is good, and won a few awards, but William Macy seems off-key in his attempt to portray lovable loser Bernie. The romance seems improbable to say the least, and the dialogue is both boring and entirely predictable- add to that the offense of a main character with seemingly supernatural unluckiness, and you have a near-disaster. If it weren't for the sex scenes- which were brave, if overly improbable again - I wouldn't've felt the slightest amount of thrill at this unhappy loser of a dvd. Good luck would be to avoid it. Collapse
  2. Riren
    Feb 26, 2007
    The leftovers of Casino, served up with a side of morose independent movie spirit. Its so-called love story is half-hearted, an excuse for some uninteresting and brazen sex scenes. William Macy is an amazing actor who I'd watch doing anything, but doing a blonde and frowning at a poker table are a waste of his talents. The movie seals its fate by throwing a dozen false endings at you, none more creative or plausible than the last. I guess they thought they were being clever. They were wrong. Expand
  3. PValentine
    Jan 27, 2006
    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. Expand

See all 25 User Reviews