Director John ("The Last Seduction") Dahl can't be serious. Matt Damonas Mike McDermott, a master card player, a janitor's son, with a friend named Worm (Edward Norton)? Together, they frequent the grungy world of high-stakes, back-room, professional poker. Only slightly less believable would be Damon as a 400-year-old ice man who's accidentally excavated from some berg near Greenland and brought to America to do men's magazine covers -- and then, of course, fall in love with Kate Moss or somebody else appropriately anorexic.
Since when do guys who look like Matt Damon have to earn their money playing poker anyway? Then there's Gretchen Mol, who plays his girlfriend, and whose nipples appeared on the cover of this month's "Vanity Fair" along with the rest of her upper torso. The "it" girl appears on screen looking so thin that it looks as if you could slide her through a cheese grater and not even get her scuffed.
Out of jail comes the seedy, greedy Worm, and Matt is sucked back into his former card-playing life, which includes the painful memory of losing all his worldly possessions to Russian Mafia dude, Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike's loss to Teddy is the first thing in the film, so you can pretty well guarantee that the film is going to end with a similar game in which Mike does to Teddy what Teddy did to Mike. Not only this, but Mike says the exact same thing to Teddy at the end of the film that Teddy said to Mike at the beginning of the film.
In the filmmaking business that's what's called screwis repeatis, which is Latin for "my dick is longer than your attention span." It's a favorite Hollywood mantra.
To spread the word about this Rounders review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.