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Two for the Money Review

Published November 4, 2005 in Movie Reviews
By Kasey Schiedeck | Images property of Universal Pictures
Two for the Money Movie Poster Two for the Money
Mathew McConaughey exudes arrogance. We've seen it in many of his recent films (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Sahara). But love him or hate, he does a dynamite job as the formidable but juvenile Brandon Lang in his latest film, Two for the Money, costarring Al Pacino. From his early days as Michael Corleone in The Godfather to the crotchety blind man in Scent of A Woman, Pacino's legendary raspy grumble can be identified through the walls of another theater. Both actors, rumored to have become close friends during the shooting, are the true gems of this film that has surprising flair and substance.

Two for the Money Movie Review

In Two for the Money, Brandon is an ex footballer who now works as a 900 number operator while nursing a wounded knee that sidelined him from a hoped for career in football. He still lives with his parents, maybe not because he needs to, but because there's food and people there. A sports fanatic with insider knowledge, Brandon can swiftly pick the winning teams for the weekly draws; although he doesn't gamble himself. Pacino's Walter Abrams gets wind of Brandon's skill and seduces him into flying to New York where he becomes Walter's prime bookie. Countless scenes with McConaughey conveniently working out without a shirt on, stepping out of the shower without a shirt on, and in bed without a shirt on ensue while we get a load of his new high life at the whim of Walter's empire. The remainder of plot is to be seen in a theater, but what is listed above is less than half of the narrative.

Two for the Money Two for the Money
A pushing-forty McConaughey is a shade too old at this point to play such an aspiring youngster, but he's believable as a flattered and hungry young man. His earnest performance is actually quite charming. Pacino is perfectly bawdy as usual, this time with an added hint of clandestineness. Walter always seems to know what he is doing and is one step ahead of the audience in most cases. Rene Russo (who also co-executive produced) plays Walter's ex druggy wife Toni with honest passion and the acumen Toni needs to have married a man like Walter.

Director D.J. Caruso had a minor success last year with the Angelina Jolie/Ethan Hawke thriller Taking Lives and has improved respectively. The script was written by newbie Dan Gilroy who seems already a master at taking conventional figures and building on them the way movie characters are supposed to. Character development is at an unusual high in Two for the Money, which makes the film enjoyably meaningful; it's less about the hurrahs of the gambling world as it is about the journey Brandon embarks on, and how he, Toni, and Walter all transform during this time.


Universal Pictures
Directed by: D.J. Caruso
Written by: Dan Gilroy
Running time: 124 minutes
Walter Abrams: Al Pacino
Brandon: Matthew McConaughey
Toni Morrow: Rene Russo
Novian: Armand Assante
Jerry: Jeremy Piven
Alexandria: Jaime King
Southie: Kevin Chapman
Reggie: Ralph Garman

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Compiled By (Sources)
Kasey Schiedeck
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures

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