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Forest Whitaker, Kim Basinger, Danny Devito, Kelsey Grammer and Ray Liotta star in director Mark Rydell's ensemble addiction drama detailing the manner in which gambling and drugs affect a variety of people's lives during the weeks leading up to a championship college basketball game.
The lure of easy cash drives the interlocking storylines of Easy Money, an all-star tale of gamblers, bookies, and gangsters. The movie draws together a blocked novelist addicted to the slots (Kim Basinger, L.A. Confidential), a magician on the skids (Danny DeVito, Get Shorty), a bookie with stress-induced stomach problems (Jay Mohr, Jerry Maguire), a debt-ridden plumber (Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland) who persuades his basketball-playing brother (Nick Cannon, Love Don't Cost a Thing) to shave points, and a gangster by turns mincing and menacing (Tim Roth, Reservoir Dogs). Tying them all together is a murder investigation conducted by a detective on crutches (an unrecognizable Kelsey Grammer, X-Men: The Last Stand). Even Money never achieves the raw, spontaneous energy of a Robert Altman movie (clearly an influence) or the social complexity of Crash (produced by the same company), but individual scenes and actors (particularly Whitaker as he twists his brother's affection to perverse ends) have an impact. Unfortunately, the movie never grips the viewer with the rush of winning or the knife-twist of losing; without that visceral punch, Even Money feels inauthentic and a little preachy. Also featuring Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) as Basinger's long-suffering husband and Carla Gugino (Snake Eyes) as a nurse in love with a brutal debt collector. --Bret Fetzer
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Kim Basinger was rather good. It's unusual to see a character in a film who is a gambling addict. She played the character quite well.
Danny DeVito did well as a washed up, impoverished magician. Like DeVito, Forrest Whitaker had a very pitiful part. Hard to watch. Nick Cannon was decent. Interesting to see Ray Liotta play a guy who neither kills anyone nor gets killed. He had a small supporting role as an English professor, and the devoted husband of Basinger's character. Basinger still looks good in this film, by the way.
Yeah, a good film. Somewhat original. Interesting character studies. Not exactly a happy movie, but you probably guessed that. It's not a total tragedy, at least. Watch the trailer first.. see what you think.
What I like most about this movie is that unlike other gambling movies or movies with a similar them; such as "High Roller", "21", "Lucky You", "Spent", "Deal" & "Yonkers Joe", "Even Money" doesn't romanticize the gambling.. but ultimately it doesn't preach either..it just is.. and it's more genuine than the other films.
I felt a connection with Kim Basinger's character. People are dismissing Basinger's character & they also comment on her acting in the film; but THAT'S how a gambling addict acts... and her character is so desperate to feel alive by trying to get one huge slot hit.. it's so important to her that she's willing to risk lying to and possibly losing her husband (played by Ray Liotta) by saying she's out working on her next book, believing in a washed up magician(played by Danny DeVito)and draining her family's bank account just to have that one hit - even though she drains her account for tens of thousands of dollars, which is more than she'd ever hit on one of those machines.
If you go to sites like You Tube you see countless clips of people hitting it big on the slots.. and in some movies like the horrible "What Happens in Vegas" makes it seem like everyone's a winner when you play the slots or gamble..or like someone can "actually" win $3 Million on a quarter slot.......yeah..... sure, that happens... But I won't waste my time reviewing that mess...
The fact is, gambling can be fun and it can be addictive.. But like with any addiction, whether it's alcohol, drugs etc., it's knowing when to say when.. I liked Even Money because it just tells it like it is & shows what can happen if you don't know when to say when..
There's also storylines with Forrest Whitaker and Nick Cannon shaving points off a basketball game and Tim Roth, Jay Mohr and Kelsey Grammer as thug bookies.. but for me, it's Basinger's storyline which shined.. I just liked this movie.. Just my opinion.. Now I'm off to the casino... (j/k)
Kim Basinger, who won an Oscar for "L.A. Confidential" in 1997, plays Carolyn. Carolyn is an author who covers her gambling habit to her family by saying how she's writing her new book. Her husband Tom is played by Ray Liotta who won an Emmy in 2005 for TV's "E.R." Tom follows her, only to discover that she's drained their savings. This is one of Liotta's best performances as a sympathetic father & husband who must draw the line. Carolyn takes up with an aging magician, Walter, played by Danny Devito. Walter who is also the Amazing Abraham becomes the subject of Carolyn's next book.
Oscar winner Forest Whitaker who took home gold for The Last King of Scotland (Widescreen Edition) plays Clyde Snow whose gambling problem has made him put pressure on his younger brother Godfrey to throw a basketball game. Godfrey is played by Nick Cannon who was in "Drumline." Whitaker agonizes between his weakness & his love for his brother. Cannon matches the performance, looking up to his older brother even as he resents his intrusion.
Meanwhile, Tim Roth who won a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "Rob Roy" in 1995 plays Victor, a sadistic bookie. Roth takes great delight in inflicting maximum pain. Jay Mohr who was in "Street Kings" this year & has been on TV's "Ghost Whisperer" plays small-time bookie Augie. Augie's partner Murph is played by the good-looking Grant Sullivan. Sullivan finds love with Veronica who is played by Carla Gugino from 2005's "Sin City." Roth wreaks revenge on Augie. This leaves Detective Bruner played by Kelsey Grammer to put the pieces together.
The performances throughout are strong. Forest Whitaker well reflects the bounce between addiction and those we love & hurt. Sullivan & Gugino play well off each other as the small-time hood & his girlfriend. Jay Mohr also makes a strong showing as a bookie with standards. "Even Money" is not an extremely good film, but it is different & gripping, well worth an evening's entertainment. Enjoy!