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The Cooler

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Maria Bello, Alec Baldwin, ...

The Cooler

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
101 minutes
Limited Release Date:
11/26/03
Wide Release Date:
12/19/03
performer:
Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy, Maria Bello, Joey Fatone, Shawn Hatosy, Ron Livingston, Paul Sorvino, Estella Warren
director:
Wayne Kramer (Director)
author:
Wayne Kramer (Director)
genre:
Comedy

We gave it a B

Like a long night at a Las Vegas casino, The Cooler is a lot of fun early in the evening, when the Rat Pack ambiance is novel, but gets bleary by 4 a.m. in the story. And like a lot of bettors and developing screenwriters, Wayne Kramer — who cowrote the script with Frank Hannah and also makes his personable feature directorial debut — believes in magical Lady Luck as a market force with more insistent conviction than the average lottery-ticket buyer. Still, Kramer’s sexy, redolently seedy-looking indie is a swell, swingin’, low-stakes card game.

And William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin make a couple of terrific headliners. Macy plays Bernie Lootz, whose name telegraphs his fate: Bernie’s a sad sack whose loser vibe is so powerfully contagious that he’s employed to”cool” the luck of hot-streak players at the second-tier casino where he has run up a huge gambling debt. Baldwin is Shelly Kaplow, Bernie’s employer and friend (never mind that he once kneecapped the yutz), in a great, beefy, ice-cube-rattling performance as a so-so-fella. Bernie’s luck changes — to Shelly’s revenue-counting dismay — when he falls in love with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello); Macy’s repertoire of lovable-lame roles expands when he gets graphically lucky in the sack. Then he becomes the Warmer.