Sunday, April 16, 2006


Two For The MoneyMatthew McConaughey Directed by D.J. Caruso
Reviewed by Byron Merritt

Thumbs Down


I don’t think I’ve ever been addicted to anything (with the exception of caffeine …which doesn’t count, right? Right! I didn’t think so!)

But taking a look at something so addictive and so expensive is a bit unnerving. Two hundred billion dollars a year in sports gambling? That’s “billion.” Whoa. The problem with this, however, is that “normal” people won’t have any idea about the machinations behind such a business, and that is one of this film’s biggest failings. Myself never having been a sports gambler, I simply couldn’t relate to this shady business nor could I have cared.

The main problem was that the focus was on the men who were on the inside, not those most affected by the bets: the little man who loses everything due to his addiction and the pressure put on them by bookies and gambling affiliates (beware in Vegas!) Two For the Money did show a touch – just a bit – of the terrible side-effects of gambling by glimpsing a man named Mohammed who ran a dry cleaning service. But it was very short.

The prime focus was on Brandon Lang (Matthew McConaughey, REIGN OF FIRE, 2002) an injured football player turned sports-win-picker who’s 80% successful selections make him a phenomenon. No one’s ever done that and Walter Abrams’ (Al Pacino, THE GODFATHER, 1972) bookie team grabs hold of Brandon and inducts him into their company. He quickly leads them to unparalleled success, money and fame but, as fickle as luck/fate can be, it just as quickly gets snatched away.

Although it’s interesting to get an insider’s look into this little-known world, it’s also (as stated earlier) of little concern to most mainstream Americans (I know of no one who has sports gambling problems …but maybe that’s just me).

The other big failing was that the movie brought up problems related to these two men, but then summarily dropped them with no rhyme or reason. For instance, we’re told early on that Walter Abrams has a heart condition, then ¾ of the way through the flick it’s never mentioned again. We’re also shown how upset some of the rich and famous become when they lose, and one of these wealthy men sends “a warning” to Brandon. It happens once, and then we never hear of it again, as if they (the movie makers) just wanted to show us this side of the issue. You know what I said when I saw that: “Who cares?”

All in all a poorly done film. The script was seriously lacking (and littered with holes) and the acting was nothing special. Pacino is just Pacino. But I’m sure the ladies will love seeing McConaughey with his
shirt off. Uh-boy…

Click here for the Two For the Money movie trailer!


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