Two for the Money—Let’s Face
Gambling is Always a
Blonde and The Maven
for the Money starts out with quarterback Brandon Lang,
played by MatthewMcConaughey (How to Lose a Guy in 10
Days and Reign of Fire), pulling out all the stops to
win his college football game. He succeeds, but gets his
knee crushed and will not be finishing out the season.
(Don’t ya just hate it when that happens?) Fast forward
six years and Brandon is working for 1-900 numbers
making recordings and has a knack for picking winners in
college football. His 80 percent correction rate gets
the attention of Walter Abrams, head of one of the
biggest sports consulting operations in the country.
Walter, played by Al Pacino (The Recruit and Any Given
Sunday and a million other films) lures Brandon from his
$10 an hour job into the lucrative business of
handicapping football games for “high betters,” strictly
legal of course, as Walters’ business doesn’t take bets
directly. When you win, you pay them a percentage of
your winnings to the firm. Walter grooms Brandon as his
protégé. His new boy Brandon gets a complete makeover,
starting with the outside (hair, wardrobe, new car) and
coaches him on how to “sell certainty in an uncertain
world.” Assisting Walter is his wife, Toni, played by
Renee Russo (Ransom and The Thomas Crown Affair).
Along the way, Walter, who suffers from a
heart condition, displays sudden fits of jealousy and
shows how cruel he can be by humiliating Brandon just as
he gets too comfortable. Also working for Walter is
Jerry, portrayed by Jeremy Piven (Old School and Runaway
Jury), who runs a computer program-based handicapping
system. Jerry’s system now takes a back seat to
Brandon’s picks for the games, creating some serious
jealousy. Things get really serious and quite sticky
when Brandon’s picks aren’t as on target as they once
seemed to be. When some betters lose all they have, it
makes you wonder if this business Walter and Brandon are
in is more immoral than you first thought. While no one
is forcing anyone to make a bet, they sure do make it
sound more like a sure thing than a gamble.
The story is written by Dan Gilroy, who
also wrote Chasers and Freejack. The director is D.J.
Caruso, who directed Taking Lives and The Salton Sea.
Take the gamble for yourself and go make
Two for the Money your next movie bet!
Blonde: First of all, I am NOT a gambler. However, if I
put 100 bucks down, I want to see a new pair of shoes!
Two for the Money was like Casino meets Boiler Room
meets Wall Street meets The Devil’s Advocate meets The
Gambler meets Vegas and The Hustler, who all eventually
meet the MOB! I enjoyed this film. I was sucked in from
the get-go. I went in thinking, “Ho-hum, another sports
film,” but Two for the Money was so much more than that.
It was about relationships, greed, morals, principals,
character or lackthereof and the disease of gambling. It
was a film about style and charisma that all intertwine
into a story of what life is really all about! (Besides
shoes.) Nothin for nothin, it certainly WILL keep your
interest for two hours! I love Renee, honestly! She is a
superb, stunning actress, but Mav, doesn’t she look like
she is aging too quickly? MEOW!
No, I think she is aging beautifully! After all, she
isn’t an ingénue anymore. I just think she needs a
different hair stylist. Her hair started bothering me
from the previews on.
The Blonde: I
thought everything about this film was intelligent and
well done, from the acting to the editing to the
directing and filming to the pacing down to the
storyline. Did you ever notice that Pacino always picks
roles where his character has some MAJOR issues?
He is never the happy, go lucky chap! I wonder if
that reflects his real life. Renee, on the other hand,
is always portraying the likeable, kind, supportive,
sexy, loyal, sweetheart.
The Maven: Is it
me, or does Al Pacino seem to be having a lot of fun
playing these over the top characters? As usual, he was
great in this role. I didn’t like his character Walter
very much, but I’m sure we weren’t supposed to. After
all, anyone who goes to a gamblers anonymous meeting and
leaves his business card which promotes sports gambling
isn’t going to be a shoe-in for Nice Person of the Year.
I must note that Walter never asks anyone to like him or
expect it. I found it difficult to sit through this
movie with so many of the characters making a living as
they do. Renee’s character was also not clearly defined.
She should have had more to do. It’s as though her good
scenes may have ended up on the cutting room floor. As
Walter’s wife, she screens his employees to protect him
from undesirables, but Walter’s business is what is
The Blonde: I can’t disagree
with you more. Maybe the topic and characters were too
deep for you? I think you missed the core
The Maven: Are you staying I
was in the outfield when I should have been in the
The Blonde: That is EXACTLY what I
The Maven: That’s baseball,
Blonde, this film was about football!
Story continued on bottom
Blonde: I know that, but there are green fields in both
sports! Ya know, Matthew is quite handsome, with lovely
hair, teeth and eyes, a drop-dead smile, a fine,
chameleon actor who fits every role he plays, but
honey…it is his body that is fitting of an Academy
Award! When he is without his shirt on, is he perfect or
what? I mean, really perfect! That said… we can move
The Maven: NO! NO! Let’s keep
talking about him! Those abs were VERY well defined,
much more so than his character!
Blonde: His character was well defined too! Now, THAT
SAID, can we move right along?
NO! NO! I haven’t started on his buns of steel yet!
The Blonde: My word Mav, what has come
over you? And… I won’t even begin to touch that anymore!
But…I am sure Matthew’s new main squeeze (Tom Cruise’s
ex), Penelope Cruz, has Matthew well in hand!
Maven: Now that said, I really think we should move
right along! Matthew is a very competent actor. This
role was good for him. His character was a likeable guy
participating in an unlikable business. He became more
remote as the story progressed. I didn’t know if I was
supposed to root for him or not. When his picks started
to go south, I was actually happy! I wanted him and all
his co-workers to fail. When Armand Assante entered the
story as a wealthy gambler, I thought, great! Now, some
action! But his character never came into focus either
and he seemed to drop from the movie. Too
The Blonde: Ok Mav, but weren’t
Matthew’s abs more than enough to get you through some
of the films holes? Can’t you just be a bit shallow and
go with the flow of the story? This is a film you
shouldn’t analyze too much and just have some movie fun
with it. This isn’t rocket science, just a fun
The Maven: It wasn’t a fun film!
The Blonde: OH CONTRAIRE!
The Maven: However, had Matthew taken his
shirt off after being pummeled by Armand, I might have
over looked the fact that Armand was dropped from the
The Blonde: He didn’t pummel
Matthew! He beat the crap out of him.
Maven: Sweet, dear, Blonde, do you even know what the
word PUMMEL means?
The Blonde: YES! It has
something to do with horseback riding!
Maven: In Blonde-land, that would be close enough… even
The Blonde: Back to the film…
Maven, what seemed to upset you so morally about this
film? It is no different than a stock broker pushing a
stock. Same exact thing! Why is this so unethical and
distasteful to you? No one is forcing these gamblers to
bet or listen to the advice.
The Maven: I
think it compounds an already difficult to deal with
addiction. They are being trained in selling a concept
and it is high pressure sales. I don’t like it. I don’t
like telemarketers either and I want to just put that
out there, as well!
The Blonde: I agree,
but the movies concept is NO different than the stock
market or brokers. Are you closing all liquor stores
down because of the already difficult to deal with
alcohol addiction? You can say this about anything. No
one pummels these gamblers to dial the number of this
firm all on their own! However, it’s nice to be
disagreeing with you again!
Although Two for the Money has some great actors that do
some great acting, the story itself of rise and then
demise, stops short of making its point. In fact, there
is NO point in seeing it. I rate it a C for couldn’t get
me to see it again!
The Blonde: This film
is exciting ‘til the last down. I rate Two for the Money
a touchdown B. It isn’t a masterpiece, but it IS what we
all go to the movies for, to be entertained! You will
indeed be entertained and more! This film brings new
meanings to the words winner and loser! For your movie
snacks, go ahead and gamble on a box of chocolates! To
quote Forrest Gump, “Ya never know what you’re gonna
P.S.: Some great movies to
look for, coming this December, are The Ice Harvest and
Syriana, starring George Clooney and Matt
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