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 ... more »the weeks leading up to a championship college basketball game.« less
"Not just about gambling addiction, but the human weakness and addiction to greed. An incredible ensemble cast with mature interconnected plot lines that deal with love, sacrifice, forgiveness, despair, and happiness. Give this one try. I think you'll be superised."
A lesson in missing the mark...
J. Rubino | Simi Valley,Ca USA | 12/08/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw this great ensemble cast I thought wow, it has to be decent; then a professional poker player recommended it. Okay I'll rent it. Wow. Very painful to watch. The biggest problem I could see is the writing; specifically the story lines are very weak and the dialogue between characters is absolutely awful. So many stereotypes and cliches. I did manage to make it through the entire movie but was very disappointed overall. Kelsey Grammar is in the movie for about four minutes total and his is by far the worst performance of the bunch. Ray Liotta is passable as is Whittaker. Bassinger and DeVito are very mediocre which led me to conclude that the director is as much to blame as the writer. I would not watch it again and would not recommend it."
Charity event for highschool scriptwriters?
H. Schneider | window seat | 09/22/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Easily in the running for worst film of the year. Not the best cast in the world can save this schoolmasterly predictable hundredth edition of the same old lame addiction and emotional abuse story collection. What were they thinking, the Whitakers, Basingers, de Vitos, Liottas, Roths...? Probably nothing. Best that can happen for them is if nobody notices this piece of incompetence."
Bet against it
Samuel McKewon | Lincoln, NE | 03/29/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
""I'm not perfect! Nobody's perfect!" That's one of the catchphrases of a gambling addict, and it's an ironic one, for a lot of them chase perfection in their chosen field of wagering. They believe in hot dice, cold cards, and working a certain slot in a certain corner of the casino. Some of them double as drug addicts or alcoholics, but all of them have taken their pursuit for a competitive high into that zone of desperation and fevered, last chance bets - the ones that will square them for good, or consign them to terminal poverty. These bliss/doom wagers are the addiction in full bloom. Nothing feels as good as escaping the grasp of ruin to bet another day.
"Even Money," a low-rent B-flick about gamblers, doesn't delve into that much detail. Rather, it's a sleazy, high-level view of a business that has its meat hooks in people and its fingers in a bunch of proverbial community pies. No doubt that's true, but since it's so riddled with cliches and archetypes that went stale after Raymond Chandler died, the movie is more inane than indicting.
Opening with some half-baked monologue from a crippled detective (Kelsey Grammer, ridiculous) about a man's wants in the world, Robert Tannen's screenplay presents a variety of addicts: Novelist Carol (Kim Basinger) is attracted to slots; a plumber named Clyde (Forest Whitaker) asks his basketball-playing brother (Nick Cannon) to shave a few points in an upcoming game; and Walter (Danny DeVito) is a pitiful washed up magician who befriends Carol for reasons never quite established. Throw in a couple small-time bookies (Jay Mohr and Grant Sullivan), a patient, suffering girlfriend (Carla Gugino), and a Eurotrash fixer (Tim Roth), and you've got yourself an ensemble soufflé!
Highlights? Not a ton. Well, Gugino's still beautiful. Ray Liotta stops by, and it's not to play a maniac or a cop, or a maniac cop. He and on-screen wife Basinger have a few good moments. There's some honor in the way Whitaker tackles his character, an antsy, loud type who's not quite as smart as he thinks he is - whose emotions are always a step ahead of his words. But the point-shaving subplot is simply botched - no coach who guesses a player is on the take is going to keep starting him.
Walter worms his way in and out of the movie without any discernible purpose, other than to kick up the pathos a few notches; DeVito can still act, but he's a pure cipher here. Roth borrows James Spader's playbook from "Two Days In The Valley" to no avail. Mohr's his typical, irritating self. Was it his idea to gulp his ulcer-soothing Pepto-Bismol throughout the movie? Couldn't it have at least been a generic brand?
Finally, for reasons unknown, Grammer not only tries on polio as a character trait, but a frog voice from the back of his throat, and giant prosthetic nose and chin. With a khaki trench coat and a pasted-on mustache, he looks and sounds like a Vegas Muppet cop. Where is this guy from? Who gave Grammer, a ham-and-egger if there ever was one, this kind of latitude in a supposedly serious film?
"Crash" for the gambling set
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 03/13/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
Despite its decidedly un-ambitious nature, "Even Money" is a modern film noir melodrama with more storylines and characters than Robert Altman's "Nashville." Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, Ray Liotta, Kelsey Grammer, Forest Whitaker, Grant Sullivan, Jay Mohr, and Carla Gugino all play individuals whose only real connection is that they are in some way or another touched by the evils of gambling.
Robert Tannen's overstuffed screenplay wanders all over the map, forcing the actors to spend most of their time just trying to keep up with all the narrative permutations (no need to reiterate them here). The most ludicrous subplot features DeVito as a washed-up magician who contemplates a professional comeback by teaming up with the best-selling author and compulsive gambler played by Basinger. Individually, any of the various plot strands might have made for an interesting movie, but taken together, they just keep getting in each others' way.
Veteran filmmaker Mark Rydell has not only helmed the piece but appears in a crucial cameo role late in the film. Sad to say, he doesn't make much of an impact in either capacity."