Written by Dan Gilroy
Directed by D.J. Caruso
Running Time: 2:02
for pervasive language, a scene of sexuality
and a violent act.
Two for the Money started off entertaining enough, but after an hour it dropped off badly and never recovered.
Brandon is a top flight college quarterback who on the last play of his college days suffers a career ending injury. Unable to sign with any pro teams, he takes up a job working with 900 numbers. Soon he starts making football picks and does pretty well, leading him to meet Walter Abrams who owns his own betting help line. If Brandon can help Walter win clients, Brandon wins big. But they both start to get full of themselves, and things start to fall apart, leading to a big breakup and lots of tears.
I liked the idea behind Two for the Money; football betting. I bet on games so that kind of thing interests me. And like I said, the first hour of the movie was good, watching as the two got excited over Brandon's ability to pick 80% of the games. More and more money started to pour in, they were both living the good life, then things started to fall apart and they had a falling out. Suddenly Brandon couldn't pick a game to save his life. All this coincided with Walter returning to an old vice and almost losing his house and his wife. But I didn't care by that point. I got so bored, all the excitement just drained out of me. What was the ultimate point of this movie? That gambling is bad? That it can be good? That you should trust your wife? That a small town boy shouldn't run with the big dogs? I have no idea what the point was. It was just a day in the life kind of movie. At the beginning it said it was based on a true story, but I don't know how the real life people ended up. Nothing really bad seemed to happen. Brandon loses a lot of money and goes home. Walter loses a lot of money and still has a happy wife who loves him. Is that it? The entire movie sets you up for some 'big' thing. Brandon gets killed or Walter has a heart attack or his wife leaves him. But ultimately, nothing happens! Where is my payoff? Granted I didn't pay any money to see the movie, but if I had, I would have been very upset. It's like betting a three team teaser and pushing on all three bets. You get nothing out of it except wasting your time.
The big draw to the movie is of course, Al Pacino, full of bluster and comedy as only he can deliver. He's fun to watch, down to the bitter end and he definitely highlights the film. Matthew McConaughey was a good second banana, willing to work out without a shirt on to appeal to the women and gay men that might not otherwise appreciate a movie centered on sports betting. And Rene Russo was there because we needed a woman. Not sure what her role really offered beyond looking nice, but hey, I like her, so I'm fine with that. The betting aspect was suspect because for one, the teams they showed weren't real, so that was annoying. And at one point one of the teams was up with a few second on the clock, on the opponents five yard line. They needed a touchdown to cover the spread, so in the movie, they show the team scoring with no time on the clock. In real life that would never happen! If you're up with a few seconds to go, you just kneel down. It's a sign of respect. Football coaches don't care about point spreads. Once I saw that they were going to use that type of nonsense in the movie, the whole betting aspect got thrown out the window. And once that was gone, I had to focus on the non-existent story line to keep me entertained. I don't remember the last time I kept waiting for a story line to come into focus and never having it materialize. The final scenes were ridiculous to the point of me wanting to leave, not knowing how much longer it would go on. If Pacino hadn't been in this movie, and you had some other random actor in his role, this movie wouldn't have been worth watching at all.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I would take a pass on Two for the Money. If you're a Pacino fan, it's worth seeing, but rent it, don't spend money on it. Instead, take that $10 and lay down a three-team six-point tease with the Colts, Bucs and Carolina this weekend. And that's my lock of the week. Just don't blame me if it doesn't happen.
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