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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Two for the Money — DVD Review

I waited so long to see Two For The Money that it may have had little chance to live up to my expectations. Unfortunately, I really don’t think elevated expectations were the real problem with the film.

I couldn’t figure out why it was in and out of theaters so quick. The promise of getting some real insight into the world of high-stakes sports betting seemed like it would draw every guy that ever dropped twenty bucks on an NFL game. Add Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, and Rene Russo, and this seemed like a hit waiting to happen. While releasing the DVD during the build-up for the Super Bowl gave it a boost, the answer to my quandry seems to be that the film didn’t deliver insights or even a hint of the “rush” gamblers seek.

McConaughey portrayed Brandon Lang, the real-life college quarterback who suffered a career-ending knee injury before ever reaching the pros. He becomes a sports handicapper, and the fun-loving, small town boy soon finds himself working for Walter Abraham (Pacino), head of one of the biggest sports betting consulting firms in the country. Lang becomes the stud of the firm, looks to Abraham as the father figure he never had, and let’s success go to his head.

There’s an attempt to make the film about more than Lang being hot then cold, but it just never goes anywhere. Abraham and his wife, Toni (Russo), battle different addictions, Abraham is suffering from poor health that’s never really explained, and a relationship between Toni and Lang becomes a lot of nothing.

The only insight offered into the gambling world seems to be that the so-called experts don’t really have more of a chance to beat the spread than anyone else. If your expectations aren’t too high, Two For the Money might be worth watching for fun while looking for something better.

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