Ex-private dancer Beth aspires to be a Las Vegas cocktail waitress, when she falls in with Dink, a sports gambler. Sparks fly as she proves to be something of a gambling prodigy--much to the ire of Dink's wife, Tulip.
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An affable underachiever finds out he's fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.
Beth, who lap dances to make ends meet, leaves Florida for Las Vegas hoping to be a cocktail waitress. She meets two women who introduce her to Dink, a gambler with a system. He hires her - she's good with numbers - and she promptly falls for him, even though he's married to a woman who seems to do nothing but spend his money. Beth tries to entice Dink whose wife, Tulip, tells him to choose; he does and promptly goes on a losing streak. The repercussions of his choice play out with a heavy gambler who has a parole officer, a cheesy bookmaker in Curaçao, Beth's desire to keep a friend out of prison, and help from an unlikely source. Written by
ensemble cast biopic that entertains, but not outstandingly
The pull of this film for me was the cast; Bruce Willis, Joshua Jackson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughan... and that it looked a funny premise. I didn't realise it was based on a true story - the story of Beth (Beth Raymer) who leaves small town America to make a life for herself in the big city, bright lights of Vegas.
I always enjoy stories where girls build themselves up from nothing, doing whatever it takes and I liked Beth's outlook on life well played by Rebecca Hall light-heartedly and convincingly. Her character was flighty and silly, and it is nice to see such a story where horrible things didn't happen to her (lucky!) Other than the language in this film (the worst of which is from the Welsh lips of Ms Zeta-Jones, almost unrecognisable as American, Tulip both in terms of look and character) it's pretty innocent, some topless sunbathing excepting. Bruce Willis wasn't so Bruce Willis as usual and I liked his wayward yet lovable character and he brought some much needed contour to otherwise quite flat performances. During the film I did wonder why everyone was so one-dimensional but as it's a true story, they were I suppose just going with the story that happened - some of the reactions people had were unexplained, as were Beth's seemingly easy transitions. The gorgeous and talented Joshua Jackson was under-utilised in this film as an actor but seeing as it was a character-based biopic there's not much that could be done about that. Vince Vaughan managed to be exactly who he usually is in films, and Laura Prepon as Holly had a good, small part character role which she did really well in.
The film is about gambling so I didn't understand all that went on but there were moments where it was quite tense, given what was being done was illegal, but the end was predictable but as it's a true story why shouldn't it be? You cared enough about the characters that you did want a happy ending and it's nice that Beth's good personality and sunny disposition wins out and all is well. As films go - biopic aside
it's not that great as it wasn't particularly challenging or deep,
and the main character's antics were naïve and rather silly, so you find her a little annoying, but she was plucky and from the point of view of the real person she did very well for herself. It is, what it is. It entertained for an hour or so but I'm glad I didn't see it at the cinema as I would have been disappointed as it wasn't as funny as I expected. It's definitely an average, middle of the road standard film on all counts; screenplay, direction and performances but it's worth watching.
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