By Kasey Schiedeck | Images property of Universal Pictures
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
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.
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