Review this movie
MarkB.Nov 10, 2005There are entire decades that didn't produce as many sports-themed or -related movies as 2005 has released--and the year isn't even over yet! In addition to films about the usual suspects: baseball, football, basketball, soccer, boxing, golf and horse racing, we've gotten (or will soon get) fictional or factual screen treatments of such off-the-beaten-track athletic and There are entire decades that didn't produce as many sports-themed or -related movies as 2005 has released--and the year isn't even over yet! In addition to films about the usual suspects: baseball, football, basketball, soccer, boxing, golf and horse racing, we've gotten (or will soon get) fictional or factual screen treatments of such off-the-beaten-track athletic and competitive endeavors as high school ice skating, junior high competitive ballroom dancing, wheelchair rugby and the Special Olympics! So what's next? Well, how about BETTING on sports? Two for the Money (terrible, genetic title, by the way: it could just as easily have been attached to a 1935 Busby Berkeley musical or a 1949 Dead End Kids comedy) is the latest variation on the venerable, all-purpose seasoned-expert-teaches-green-but-eager-kid-the-ropes subgenre, in which injured, woulda-been pro footballer Matthew McConaughey learns all about becoming a guru of gridiron gambling from tycoon Al Pacino...and before the movie's over, you just know that both guys will learn as much or more about themselves as well. This joins A Sound of Thunder and Waiting...as one of 2005's prime guilty pleasures: very few points for originality, but plenty for sheer chutzpah: it's hard not to respond to the absurd but weirdly entertaining sequences in which Pacino and McConaughey crash a Gamblers Anonymous meeting hoping to, uh, cause a relapse; or where a disgruntled mobster (Armand Assante) finds an especially pungent way to express his displeasure at McConaughey's less than 100% dependable advice, or the operatic cross-cutting finale that both incorporates Big Game cliches and rejects them. It's bombastic and way over the top, but let's be honest: isn't that what you WANT more than half the time from an Al Pacino movie? He can be a wonderfully subtle, understated actor, but the Godfather trilogy notwithstanding, don't most of us go to Scent of a Woman or ...And Justice for all or Devil's Advocate to hear loud, grandstanding speechifying, which Pacino provides here in abundance? (I mean, you don't see a whole generation and culture sporting T-shirts depicting his characters in Donnie Brasco and The Merchant of Venice, do you?) The likable McConaughey manages the daunting task of keeping up with Pacino most of the time, but even better (and a smashing counterpoint) is Rene Russo, who as Pacino's conflicted wife repeats what she did so well in the Pierce Brosnan remake of The Thomas Crown Affair: strikes a blow for fortysomething actresses as incredibly attractive, alluring, sexual beings in an industry that too often pushes actresses that reach a certain point of no return into unflattering supporting roles, repeatedly unsuccessful TV sitcoms and, eventually (gasp!) infomercials while Harrison Ford and Sean Connery will continue to get romantic leads until they can no longer move their walkers. Then again, since Russo apparently had to executive produce this movie in order to guarantee herself this role, I guess it's not as much a cause for celebration as I originally thought!… Expand
edw.Oct 26, 2005Hey, relax. It is a good time, not perfect but Pacino is a lot of fun to watch in this role.
charlieOct 10, 2005I loved this movie the story was gd the acting was great. pacino at his best.
RachelC.Oct 7, 2005Awesome movie! I suggest you decide for yourself. I personally am not a sheep that lets the critics choose everything for me. [Ed: hmmm....]