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When the New York journalist Jake Bridges catches his girlfriend with another guy, he goes to Atlantic City to drink himself to oblivion. He is saved from a bar brawl by a small-time mobster Frankie, and Jake falls in love with Frankie's girlfriend Melissa. Jake soon also joins Frankie in his money-collecting duties. Written by
William Petersen plays Jake, a down-on-his luck writer who has lost his muse and crawled into a bottle. One night, he drunkenly takes on an obnoxious bar tough, Lew (played by Meat Loaf), who takes him outside and begins to hand him a serious beating. The beating is interrupted by a low-level Irish mob enforcer, Frankie (Wincott), who had an appointment with Lew for a collection. Frankie puts a hurting on Lew and takes Jake home where Frankie's girlfriend, Melissa (Diane Lane), who happens to be a nurse, provides medical attention for Jake.
Though Jake is obnoxiously resistant at first, Frankie wants to be his friend and help him out of the hole he's dug himself into. In exchange, Frankie wants Jake to help him become more educated and erudite.
While this could turn into a sappy story on the level of Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man, instead it's a cool, dark tale of conflicting loyalties and desires with a little redemption thrown in to boot. Well acted and with solid dialogue, the film has a few cliche moments, but they are ultimately forgivable in the end.
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