Two for the Money

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Rating: R

Starring:
Al Pacino as Walter Abrams
Matthew McConaughey as Brandon Lang
Rene Russo as Toni Morrow
Armand Assante as Novian
Jeremy Piven as Jerry
Jaime King as Alexandria
Kevin Chapman as Southie
Ralph Garman as Reggie
Gedde Watanabe as Milton
Carly Pope as Tammy
Charles Carroll as Chuck
Gerard Plunkett as Herbie
Craig Veroni as Amir
James Kirk as Denny
Chrislyn Austin as Julia

Special Features:
Feature Commentary with DJ Caruso and Dan Gilroy

The Making of Two for the Money

Insider Interview: The Real Brandon

Deleted Scenes (with Optional Commentaries)

Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots

Universal Trailers

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language Track
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following text is from the DVD cover:

“Academy Award winner Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey star in this adrenaline-charged thriller about the sexy, high-stakes world of sports betting, where fortunes can be made and lost with a flip of a coin.

When Brandon Lang (McConaughey) becomes the protégé of sports gambling’s power player, Walter Abrams (Pacino), he swiftly becomes the golden boy of the high-rolling world for consistently picking football winners. Now, with millions on the line, he finds himself in a deadly game of con-versus-con with his new mentor.

Also starring Renee Russo and Jeremy Piven (TV’s Entourage), Two For The Money sizzles with intense, non-stop thrills!”

Two for the Money is rated R for pervasive language, a scene of sexuality and a violent act.

Mini-Review:
Two for the Money looks great on the surface. The cast, featuring Al Pacino, Rene Russo, and Matthew McConaughey, is first rate. The story featuring sports gambling is quite intriguing. However, the final result is a film that’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The first hour featuring the rise of Matthew McConaughey as Brandon Lang hooks you. You’re introduced to an interesting new world and the relationships being established between the characters pulls you in. However, as the movie enters its last quarter and things inevitably fall apart between the characters, it runs out of steam. The film takes a dark turn and the pacing slows down to the point where you’re checking your watch.

As you might expect, the acting in the film is very good. Matthew McConaughey is convincing as Brandon Lang. He’s good at playing a cocky hotshot with a talent at picking sports winners. His rise and fall is the core of the film and, for the most part, is intriguing. Al Pacino is also good as Walter Abrams, Lang’s mentor who also has a dark side. Pacino is excellent at making the character switch from good to evil at the drop of a hat. Rene Russo isn’t used quite as much as Toni Morrow, but she more than holds her own against Pacino. Notable cameos include Armand Assante as the thug Novian and Jeremy Piven as Jerry, Lang’s jealous co-worker.

If you’re into sports gambling, this is a good cautionary tale to watch. It shows how this seemingly harmless hobby can end up ruining lives. It’s also an interesting look behind the scenes at the world of gambling. Despite the varying quality of the film, this moral tale makes it worth watching. Fans of the main actors will also want to check it out to see their performances. I just wish the overall movie had been a little shorter and a little better in the final act.

Your standard set of bonus features is included on the DVD. You have a commentary with the writer and director, a “making of” video, and deleted scenes. The deleted scenes are quite brief. A number of them feature Lang recovering from his football injury and attempting to get back into college sports (and even re-injuring it). We also see his estranged father trying to visit him in the hospital. Another notable deleted scene shows Lang’s little brother gambling his college fund away on one of his bad sports picks.

One of the more interesting bonus features is an interview with the man the film was based on. It turns out he pitched the film to writer Dan Gilroy while working as a caddy. The real Brandon talks about how he got into the betting business, his real life mentor, and how he sells his bets to people. It’s an interesting follow-up after seeing the movie.

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