Tethered to the standard multicharacter drama conventions that can be seen most nights on ABC, "Even Money" hardly delves beneath the surface of its moralistic overview of the sins and ramifications of gambling addiction. With several parallel tales reiterating the same point -- that habitually betting past your risk point is sure to land you in trouble -- pic's primary interest is its varied ensemble and its telling illustration of the way careers rise and fall. Reportedly altered somewhat since its 2006 South by Southwest preem, pic is getting limited mid-May theatrical play that will lead directly to video slots. Just a scan of the cast list reads like a chart of careers both hot (Nick Cannon, Forest Whitaker -- who did this before his Oscar-winning "The Last King of Scotland") and cold (Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, Kelsey Grammer) and somewhat in-between (Ray Liotta, Tim Roth, Jay Mohr), while also serving as a reminder of the volatility of the film acting trade. The chance to meditate on the roller-coaster effects of fame provides a fine distraction from the pic's bland dramatic threads, routinely overseen by director Mark Rydell (who himself once had quite a career trajectory). Screenwriter Robert Tannen follows the rule book of the by now standard multiplot tube skein, establishing separate storylines and then gradually -- and oh so mechanically -- merging most of them by the third act. Novelist Carolyn (Basinger) is hooked on slot machines, lying to loyal husband Tom (Liotta) that she's actually writing a book at a local Starbucks. Handyman Clyde (Whitaker) roots for little bro and college hoops star Godfrey (Cannon), but is heavily indebted on his past betting losses. Det. Brunner (Grammer, complete with a cane and a badly applied prosthetic nose) has in his sights the evil and wily bookie Victor (Roth), who seems to have his claws in everybody in town. Augie (Mohr), a small-time and more vulnerable version of rival Victor, senses that business is about to take off. Magician Walter (DeVito) spends his time amusing casino mavens with his tricks, until he starts befriending Carolyn. If Tannen had taken a cue from the exchange of emotions and subtext between brothers Clyde and Godfrey, there might have been something more organic and surprising about the characters and events in "Even Money." But with little exception, the course is relentlessly and monotonously downward, as if the characters were charted on a graph rather than allowed to have lives of their own. Even those folks observing the hopeless gamblers from the outside, such as Tom or nurse Veronica (Carla Gugino), are little more than moral points on a compass. Forced to play's Tom's Mr. Stability to Basinger's Ms. Addict, Liotta is starkly limited by the script, an issue that applies to the ensemble up and down the line. Whitaker nearly does break through his role's schematic boundaries, and works up considerably warm chemistry with the charismatic Cannon. Basinger literally sweats through a thankless role, while Roth, mired in typecasting, falls back on his only option, which is to mug. In one of his better perfs to date, Mohr suggests the intense pressures felt from a young bookie's perspective. DeVito (also a producer) seems to be enjoying himself, even if he feels like a refugee from a David Mamet film. Grammer's noirish gumshoe act similarly seems -- despite a last-minute twist -- to belong in another film. For a film that should be swimming in nocturnal urban stench and fateful atmospherics, Rydell (with lenser Robbie Greenberg) creates little mood beyond the most conventional sort. Standard-issue directorial approach is perfectly in keeping with a script whose natural berth is on the tube
Not so in "Even Money," where the first scene offers an unconvincing Kim Basinger, mumbling anxiously to herself, pulling a slot machine's lever and despairing at the outcome. The film's main stab at capturing gambling's allure is a few candy-colored shots of casino action. Because many less glamorous scenes also are drenched in barely justified colored lights, one assumes that this is less a narrative device than a predilection of the cinematographer. With so little fun and such unconvincing pathos on hand, it's hard to imagine much boxoffice potential.
Like Basinger, most of the protagonists in this ensemble cast are up to their necks in something, but the script has little notion how to generate an appropriate level of drama. Forest Whitaker is in hock to his bookies so badly that he's willing to beg his beloved kid brother (a basketball star in the making) to shave points and throw games so he can win some dough back. Grant Sullivan plays one of the bookmakers in question, doing fine financially but about to lose his new girlfriend because, as bookies tend to do, he hurts people who owe him. Ray Liotta suffers indirectly, as his wife Basinger neglects him in favor of the slots.
Circling among these losers are outsiders: Kelsey Grammer, who wears a prosthetic chin the size of Nevada and has been told he's the lead gumshoe in a film noir, and Tim Roth, a gambling entrepreneur who may or may not be the elusive kingpin "Ivan." Roth chews the scenery, or rather nibbles it and licks his fingertips, in a Eurosleaze performance that is the film's most entertaining ingredient. Somewhere in there is Danny DeVito, a washed-up magician who does sleight-of-hand for tips from retirees and might just inspire Basinger to write the novel she's been pretending to work on for months.
With Dave Grusin's maple-syrup jazz chords doing their best to build tension, director Mark Rydell shows each protagonist trying to fix his or her predicament. We have a hard time identifying with their problems, as we weren't along for the fun part of the ride and it's clear from the start that their solutions will fail.
Overlong and overstuffed with cliches -- ever heard the one about the bookie who swills Pepto for his ulcer? -- the movie doesn't seem to realize how close it comes to comedy. First-time screenwriter Robert Tannen evidently has big ambitions here, hoping to wrap his Big Issue up in a "Crash"-style tapestry of interwoven plots. Suffice to say that "Crash" producer Bob Yari, whose logo also adorns "Even Money," won't be suing anybody for credit come Oscar time next year.
Breve traduzione fatta da me:
Non dovrebbe un dramma che narra degli effetti gegativi del gioco
d'azzardo spiegare prima cosa porta le persone ad avvicinarsi a tale
La prima scena mostra una non convincente Kim Bsinger ansiosa di vedere se ha vinto o meno alle Slot Machines. Molte scene del film sono "colorate" dalla giocosità e dalla frivolezza delle luci del casinò. Molto spesso queste scene molto colorate sono ingiustificate, questo a scapito del pathos e della tensione che dovrebbe suscitare il film. Tutto ciò fa pensare che il film non avrà un buon riscontro al box office.
.Kim Basinger come la maggior parte del cast si scapicolla per rendere il film buono, ma quello che manca è uno script adatto a generare un dramma di alto livello.
Forset Whitaker con l'aiuto di suo fratello minore (Nick Cannon) cerca di truccare una partita di basketbal, nella speranza di poter pagare i suoi creditoriGrant Sullivan interpreta un bookmakers che trascura la sua nuova fidaznata distruggendo così la sua relazione. Ray Liotta invece si dispera nle vedere sua moglie (Kim Basinger) rovinarsi per l'amore per le slot machines. Tim Roth è l'elemento evasivo del film. Mentre Danny de Vito interpreta un mago, mentre Kelsey Grammar indossa un naso finto
Mark Rydel ci mostra da vicino ogni personggio e il suo tentativo di redimersi, ma si cdpisce subito che questo non accadrà, perchè falliranno.
Il film scivola troppe volte nella commedia, cercando di echeggiare il successo di Crash, il cui produttore era Bob Yari