There's a new sports-betting movie out called "Two for the Money."
Larry King calls it "the best movie about gambling ever made! . . . This film has everything." Couch Slouch calls it "the worst movie about gambling ever made! . . . This film has nothing."
Guess which blurb the studio is using in its newspaper ads?
(Film critic Jack Mathews wrote in the New York Daily News, "It's 'Glengarry Glen Ross' in a sports bar." No, it's "Gigli" in an OTB parlor.) I would explain the thrust of the film to you, except it has no story and it makes no sense. It was a bit like watching the Ravens' offense -- somewhat scripted, going nowhere.
The movie starts with a game-winning, career-ending touchdown and finishes with a game-winning, career-ending touchdown. In between, there is occasional dialogue.
Walter (Al Pacino), who is married to Toni (Rene Russo), owns a sports-tout service and hires former college quarterback Brandon (Matthew McConaughey) to be his star handicapper. If Brandon picks games well, they all get rich; if he doesn't, they all go broke.
I don't think I'm leaving out any nuance here.
The story was so bad, I'm surprised it wasn't an episode of "Yes, Dear."
(By the end of the first act, the usher in my theater gave two weeks' notice.) They could've written a better script using Mad Libs.
When Walter first meets Brandon, he tells him breathlessly, "Everything's about money."
A bit later, Brandon tells viewers on Walter's sports-adviser TV show, "For one year, I've been picking 80 percent winners. Unbelievable?"
This movie was as authentic about sports gambling as "Gilligan's Island" was about shipwrecked life on a desert isle.
I would've rather watched Jim Feist pick produce.
I mean, who read this baby and said, "Let's make movie magic!"
They would've been better off making a movie about a pylon.
(There were precisely 11 of us watching the movie at my theater's late show. At one point, we considered blitzing the projectionist to stop the film, but one of the audience members was a lawyer who explained that our legal position was stronger if we tried to survive the entire production.) If "Two for the Money" came out, say, 10 or 15 years ago, it might've ended Pacino's and Russo's careers. As for McConaughey, I'm not quite sure he has a career.
Somehow, two other fine actors, Jeremy Piven and Armand Assante, were dragged into this mess in supporting roles. I assume Piven already has fired his agent. As for Assante. . . . Armand, Armand, Armand, what were you doing here? You were Gotti, you were a Mambo King. In this dud, you're in two scenes -- and in the second one they have you urinating on someone.
The NFL wouldn't give the movie folks licensing rights, so there are no team nicknames -- just a bunch of fake logos, fake uniforms and fake football footage. The only real person in the film is ESPN's Jim Rome, and based on my own personal experience, I'm not even sure he's real.
At the movie's critical juncture, when Walter must tell his TV audience his Super Bowl pick -- delivered by a badly slumping Brandon, who had flipped a coin on the game (perhaps the movie's most realistic gesture) -- he offers the following guarantee, "You Lose . . . We Cover!"
Similarly, I'm so confident this film is so bad that I will offer the following guarantee:
I will refund anyone the price of your theater ticket -- up to $9.50 -- if you can prove you loved "Two for the Money." All payments are subject to an authorized polygraph and, of course, Larry King and his immediate family are not eligible.
Ask The Slouch
Q. I'm sure you still have your head in the sand on this, but doesn't baseball need replay? (Jason Cale; Kansas City, Mo.)
A. Speaking of my noggin, do me a favor in regard to this latest endless, raging debate -- I want you to come over and, as I am napping on my sofa, take the baseball bat sitting next to the beanbag chair and crack my head open. I will rest more peacefully then.
Q. How many losses does your Team of Destiny, the Arizona Cardinals, need to suffer before you have "colossal anxiety disorder" and write no more columns? (John F. Lyons; Olney)
A. I think we might be pretty much there already.
Q. I noticed that shortly after Vanderbilt won its fourth straight game, one of its players was shot during a campus altercation. According to SEC bylaws, does this make the Commodores bowl-eligible? (Rick Maloney; Buffalo)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Are you now asking the star of "Medium" for betting advice? (Mark Lebar; St. Leonard)
A. Shirley, save yourself a trip and withdraw another 10 bits from petty cash.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. E-mail email@example.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!