Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Deal *1/2

Director: Gil Cates Jr.
Cast: Burt Reyndols, Bret Harrison, Shannon Elizabeth

Alex (Harrison) is a recent college graduate who, against his parents' will, chooses to play poker professionally.
Tommy (Reynolds) is a former gambler with certain fame in the poker world who finds himself in need of extra money and wants to recapture some of his old glory.
When he sees Alex on TV one day he decides to train him for the Poker World Championship.
If you think you've seen this film before, it's because you probably have, all you have to do is change the sport and the characters, to end with a cross generational tale about how we all can learn from one another.
Harrison gives an interesting performance that requires no outstanding skills, but on pure likeability can carry the whole film, while Reynolds is the kind of guy whose "cool" factor cancels almost everything else (including a horrendous dye job).
Despite the fact that you expect the film to fall into conventional genre twists it remains a bit disappointing that a film that makes such a big deal about the marvels of bluffing carries none of its cards up its sleeve.
When Alex decides he's had enough of poker, the background song goes something like "I don't wanna play this game no more", whenever there's an appearance by Jennifer Tilly the score changes to a vampy, jazzy mood to go with her voice.
And by the time the film gets to its supposedly surprising ending, whether you carry your heart in its place or in your pocket, you too will have seen it coming ages ago.

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