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Hedge your bets on"Two for the Money" - CinemaDave

Oct. 13th, 2005 07:43 pm Hedge your bets on"Two for the Money"

Silly me. When I watch football on the weekends, I do
it because I enjoy the sport. It is emotionally
devastating enough to watch the Miami Dolphins commit
18 penalties and still almost win the game in the
final two minutes. The last thing I need to do to
relax to to worry about my football team attempting
cover their point spread. "Two for the Money" is
about the business of watching sports.

Matthew McConaughey portrays Brandon, a college
football prodigy who is injured during his heroic
final bowl game, his sports career in ruin, Brandon
makes a living as a bookie who provides sports picks
for gamblers. During football season, Brandon gets on
a hot streak. With such a blockbuster streak, Brandon
comes into the focus of Walter Abraham (Al Pacino),
the manager of a profitable sports consulting
business.

Part devil/part mentor, Walter tutors Brandon about
the importance of appearances and perceptions. Aiding
Walter is his wife, Toni (Rene Russo), a cosmetician.
Despite running a successful business, Toni fears that
Walter will return to the corruption of his past.
Walter was a compulsive gambler who brought financial
devastation to the family. Toni's fears are justified
when Walter and Brandon nab the account of reputed
mobster Novian (Armand Assante).

Though Matthew McConaughey is "Two for the Money's "
leading man, this film is owned by Al Pacino. With
wide eyed enthusiasm, Pacino gets the best lines in
the movie. Despite his charismatic bravado, Pacino
also makes Walter a bit of creep with a deep seated
inferiority complex. McConaughey are Russo are
likable in roles we have seen them perform before.

The film is enjoyable with memories of the two Paul
Newman and Robert Redford partnerships like "The
Sting" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
Pacino echoes his performances as John Milton in
"Devil's Advocate," the Coach in "Any Given Sunday"
and the slick salesman of "Glengary Glen Ross." As
the film attempts to find a moral conclusion, the
inspiration from the earlier scenes fades. To reach
the film's climax, the film lurches to a very
unsuccessful emotional showdown that fails due to
dialog written from a "Redbook" magazine.

The strength of "Two for the Money" is how it relates
to the South Florida culture. If you listen to AM
radio on Friday morning, one can hear Hank Goldberg's
team picks on 560 WQAM. The phone callers speak with
the intensity of a high school junior the night before
their SAT exam. Goldberg has had some hot streaks,
but when he has his slump - the phone calls become
scary. If you transfer Goldberg for McConaughey, one
can see the connection.

Based on poor box office receipts, "Two for the Money"
is not likely to spawn a sequel titled "Three for the
Show." It is not a bad movie for free, but the price
of a ticket would be better invested on a hot betting tip.

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