the Goliard

January 2004

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The Cooler                         

The Cooler is an odd little movie. It features William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello (left) and is quirky enough at times to make you feel like you are watching a fine film but also so chock full of clichéd dialog that it is hard to stomach at certain points. The film tells the story of a man who's luck is so bad that all he has to do is walk past tables in a casino and any player nearby immediately begins to lose. A cooler like this is a valuable commodity in Vegas of course and when Macy decides it's time to move on, Baldwin's tough guy, old school casino owner isn't about to let him go quietly. Enter Bello as a been through the ringer cocktail waitress and suddenly Macy's luck begins to change. The acting in the film is good for the most part with Baldwin doing a more than convincing job as a scumbag tough guy and Ron Livingston (that cool slacker from Office Space) and Paul Sorvino adding supporting roles. Macy is always engaging and could have mailed this performance in so it's hard to tell whether we should be impressed or not. There are several memorable sex scenes between he and Bello that are oddly shot and would have added to the movie if the dialog was redone to not include lines like; "I think, no wait, I know that I love you." and "I moved out to Vegas to be a showgirl." The ending also fails to deliver and there is much unnecessary violence thrown on top of that which all adds up to a mostly unsatisfying evening although somehow the movie sticks with you and you feel like that on some level you've experienced something legitimate. It's a shame since with different writing, this one could have been a classic Vegas movie like Hard Eight.


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