Even Money – DVD Review


Available at Amazon.com

Director:

Mark Rydell

Starring:

Kim Basinger ………. Carol Carver
Danny DeVito ………. Walter
Kelsey Grammer ………. Detective Brunner
Nick Cannon ………. Godfrey Snow
Ray Liotta ………. Tom Carver
Jay Mohr ………. Augie
Tim Roth ………. Victor
Forest Whitaker ………. Clyde Snow
Carla Gugino ………. Veronica
Grant Sullivan ………. Murph
Cassandra Hepburn ………. Claudia

The Movie

Copycat films have been around for years and years. A film takes an original premise and becomes successful because of it. That means numerous of imitators will try to copy that premise and find their own success. More times than not they fail. Some fail so bad that they don’t see the light of day and end up being direct-to-DVD, or only see limited release in theaters. Even when you are copying another movie, you still have to be original. That’s something the people behind Even Money can take to heart.

The film follows the lives of nine people who are caught up in the seedy world of gambling. Carol Carver (Kim Basinger) bets her family’s security on the slots, keeping it a secret from her husband Tom (Ray Liotta), a janitor. Clyde Snow (Forest Whitaker) involves his younger brother, Godfrey (Nick Cannon), in an illegal effort to fix a basketball game to save himself from two bookies, Augie (Jay Mohr) and Murph (Grant Sullivan) who are both the facilitators and the victims of their chosen vice. Veronica (Carla Gugino) falls in with the violent end of the sordid business through a star-crossed romantic relationship with Murph. Murph’s boss, Victor (Tim Roth) may have killed a man, a crime being investigated by a Shamus, Detective Brunner (Kelsey Grammer).

The theme overall is that “greed is bad.” That is all well and good, but that is its only draw. It desperately attempts to be like the more successful Crash, but just like the roll of the dice it’s a wash.

The screenwriters try and have the individual stories cross paths a la Paul Haggis’ Oscar-winning film, but everything moves too slow and by the time something does come together there’s no impact. Each story on their own is only marginally interesting, so if crossed with another only makes for a big, convoluted mess.

The acting is the only saving grace from this being an abysmal feature; this is star-studded lineup. With better material these actors could have been involved in a caliber work. But they aren’t given much and they can only do their best with what they are given. Kim Basinger, Forest Whitaker, and Danny DeVito are standouts in their perspective roles. As a whole, really, there is not really a weak link in the cast. The weak link is solely the plot.

Even Money fails, due to middling little stories that seem to be thrown together just so they can be connected. The overall theme that “gambling is bad” is not a bad one, but nail home the point, don’t mail it in. The pacing is much too slow and the drama is not nearly dramatic enough for the big screen. Maybe not even the small screen. Strong performances make enough of an impression to save Even Money from being awful, but not much better than something that should be labeled “direct-to-DVD.”

The Video:

The video is given in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The video is pretty good and comparable to other new release DVDs. Nothing too special, but no real complaints either.

The Audio:

The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. No problems real problems here either. The music and dialogue come out loud and clear.

The Extras:

There are no extras except for the trailer for the movie, which is hard to even consider a special feature. So worthwhile for this little seen feature.

THE INSIDE PULSE

I can only recommend a rental here. It’s not a terrible movie, but it could have been a lot better given the people involved. Even if you are fans of the actors in the movie, it jumps around too much to justify buying this to complete one actor’s filmography for your home library.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Even Money
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

4.5
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

0
REPLAY VALUE

3
OVERALL
3
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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