The unluckiest man in Vegas - a guy whose bad luck is contagious - is used by the last of the old time mob run casinos to kill high rollers' action. That is, until he falls in love with a cocktail waitress and gets "lady luck," which throws the situation into reverse. Things turn nasty when the casino director tries to break up the romance.Written by
The casinos demolished in the closing credits are: the Aladdin, the Sands, the Landmark, and the Dunes. The Dunes was bought and demolished in a giant pyrotechnic display begun by Steve Wynn when he fired a mock cannon from Treasure Island; in part he did it to insult The Dunes' former owners; the property became the Bellagio; Wynn has since sold all of his Mirage Resorts properties to MGM Grand and bought the Desert Inn, which he demolished to build Wynn Las Vegas. The Sands was where the Rat Pack held The Summit, a series of shows they did for fun while filming the original Ocean's 11 (1960), an epoch that helped to define the Las Vegas that Shelly Kaplow mourns in The Cooler; The Venetian now stands on the Sands' lot. The Aladdin was rebuilt, but has performed poorly due to its similarity to all the other megacasinos, overbuilding in Vegas, and the slower economy. The Landmark's demolition can be seen in Mars Attacks! (1996); the property was used to expand parking for the Las Vegas Convention Center. See more »
When Shelly confronts Natalie in the hotel room he throws two armfuls of clothes (on hangers) on the bed. The next shot shows only a suitcase with neatly folder clothes in it on the bed. See more »
Where's Bernie, they're killing us. Yeah, we need him right away.
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A "cooler" is a guy who stands next to you in a casino when you are having a winning streak that is suddenly interrupted. It is someone who has such a bad luck that people around him are influenced; he could be pretty important for casino bosses. The cooler here is Bernie and the face of William H. Macy is perfect for him. The casino boss is Shelly in a wonderful performance from Alec Baldwin. Soon Bernie will leave, but not before he has met and fallen in love with Natalie, played by Maria Bello (for me only known from 'Payback' and 'Coyote Ugly'), a third terrific performance. She seems to like him also and suddenly that means Bernie is lucky. This will give, unfortunately for Shelly and therefore himself as well, results on the casino floor. Things are getting complicated.
The story is pretty original and entertaining on itself. A sub-plot that deals with the idea of remodeling the casino into a more modern one, not if it is up to Shelly, gives him a reason to be annoyed and show his more cruel side. Baldwin is at best in these scenes. The performances take the film to the next level. Baldwin won an Oscar nomination and it is pretty clear why. You believe him the entire time, no matter what he does. From Macy we expect a good performance, he is one of the best character-actors out there. I was also pleasantly surprised with Bello, an Oscar nomination would not have been strange here; she is very good, even great in the scenes with Macy. In the end 'The Cooler' is a good film, becoming better through performances, entertaining all the way through.
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