On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
Brandon Lang loves football: an injury keeps him from the pros, but his quarterback's anticipation makes him a brilliant predictor of games' outcomes. Needing money, he leaves Vegas for Manhattan to work for Walter Abrams advising gamblers. Walter has a doting wife, a young daughter, and a thriving business, but he has problems: a bum heart, a belief he's a master manipulator, and addictions barely kept in check. He remakes Brandon, and a father-son relationship grows. Then, things go awry. Walter may be running a con. The odds against Brandon mount.Written by
Rene Russo's husband, Dan Gilroy, wrote the part of Al Pacino's wife Toni especially for Russo and tailored it to fit her perfectly. He even used Russo's real-life sister's name Toni as the name of the character. See more »
When Brandon and Walter are discussing the playoff loss, Walter tries to light his cigarette with his right had though it is in his mouth backwards, then Toni walks and yells at him he is still holding a lighter but in-between shots the lighter is replaced by an unwrapped lollipop. See more »
There is a scene at the beginning of the film that seems to set the tone of "Two for the Money". We watch as Walter Abrams is talking on the phone with someone who will not be able to provide an elephant for his daughter's birthday party. Walter barks to his assistant, "Get me Ringling". When the call finally comes through, he demands to know whether he is talking to Barnum or Bailey, which is a funny line. Wasn't P.T. Barnum himself the man famous for that quotation about a sucker being born every minute?
Walter Abrams is a man who is in the sports betting business. He and his associates stand to make millions out of the jerks they pursue to do their betting with his firm. Having found a new rising star, Brandon Lang, a man that knows a lot about the intricacies of point spreads and picking winners. Walter wants to transforms him into a man who can bring more money into his outfit.
In order to do that, Walter must groom him to "look" the part. As such, Brandon becomes John Anthony, the man who can produce fabulous results every week end during the football series. Brandon gets to meet the insiders, but little does he know who he is dealing with, or much less, what is expected of him. After all, he is just as good as the winners he can produce.
The film, directed by D. J. Caruso, a man who has worked extensively in television, has a glossy look. The screen play by Dan Gilroy could have used some tighter editing, because at two hours it feels a bit long.
Al Pacino, as Walter, has some good moments; we have seen him in better roles, and this one is a composite of other things he has done before. Mr. Pacino compensates when the screen play is not going anywhere by applying an intensity that doesn't go well with the others playing opposite him. Matthew McConaughey is a light weight actor who, aside from his good looks, doesn't bring anything to this story. Rene Russo is obviously a tall woman who towers over Mr. Pacino in most of their scenes together. Their relationship doesn't come across as being a real thing. Jeremy Piven and Armand Assante make good contributions in supporting the principals.
While "Two for the Money" is by no means a horrible film, it just doesn't have anything new to say.
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