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The Grand (2007)

R | | Comedy | 7 June 2007 (USA)
2:12 | Trailer
An improvisational comedy using a handful of actors playing characters competing in an actual poker tournament.


Zak Penn





Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Harrelson ... One Eyed Jack Faro
David Cross ... Larry Schwartzman
Dennis Farina ... LBJ 'Deuce' Fairbanks
Cheryl Hines ... Lainie Schwartzman
Richard Kind ... Andy Andrews
Chris Parnell ... Harold Melvin
Werner Herzog ... The German
Jason Alexander ... Dr. Yakov Achmed
Ray Romano ... Fred Marsh
Mike Epps ... Reggie Marshall
Judy Greer ... Sharon Andrews
Gabe Kaplan ... Seth Schwartzman
Michael Karnow Michael Karnow ... Mike Werbe
Michael McKean ... Steve Lavisch
Julie Claire ... Dr. Jamie Sellers


An improvisational comedy using a handful of actors playing characters competing in an actual poker tournament.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A comedy about the fine art of losing



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


With the exception of the character conversations away from the game, the entire final table scene was unscripted. Co-Writer and Director Zak Penn chose to play the entire final table for real, meaning that they did not know in advance which of the characters would win, and thus how the movie would end. Because of Ray Romano's shooting schedule, the scene between Lainie (Cheryl Hines) and Fred (Ray Romano) had to be filmed before the final table had been played. Two different scenes were shot to allow for Lainie to either win or lose. The alternative scene is included on the DVD. See more »


Commentator Phil Godon calls a hand King-Jack of clubs, but the display shows it as King of Spades and Jack of Clubs. See more »


The German: Lucky Faro, he was a fiend, a monster, and yet, against my better judgment, I loved him. We even tried to murder eachother at some point.
See more »


Written by Anton Newcombe
Performed by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Courtesy of The Committee To Keep Music Evil
Under License from Tepid Peppermint Wonderland, Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

High Stakes, (Some) High Reward
29 June 2008 | by MacAindraisSee all my reviews

The Grand (2008)***

Zak Penn, writer of various superhero pictures, makes his return to the directors chair in this wildly uneven but nevertheless entertaining improvisational comedy. The film chronicles various poker players as they try to win big at The Grand Tournament in Las Vegas. Among the players are: Jack Fero (Woody Harrelson), a substance abusing womanizer looking to win the 10 million dollar pot to save his grandfather's passed down casino; Larry and Lanie Schwartzman (David Cross and Cheryl Hines), brother and sister competitors (also involved is their father and Lanie's husband, Fred, played by Ray Romano); Andy Andrews (Richard Kind), an amateur who has somehow made it all the way to the tournament, apparently on luck; Harold Melvin (Chris Parnell), a lonely Dune quoting genius who lives with his mother; Deuce Fairbanks (Dennis Farina), the oldtimer with many stories to tell about the old Las Vegas; and The German, a hardcore, animal sacrificing, quote poet played by who else but Werner Herzog. Various other actors, directors, and real life poker pros have cameos, some good, some just meh.

There really isn't a whole lot to say for the plot, other than its about a poker tournament. Characters have their various story lines: Jack trying to save his casino; Larry and Lanie trying to deal with their overbearing father; Fred trying to get Manning on Yahoo! Fantasy Football; Harold and Andy have a budding friendship; Deuce, the German, and Jack's grandfather used to pal around, etc. Its mostly filler for comedy and those times where poker tables go on break. There are moments when the backstories have some very funny comedy (such as the relationship between Lanie and Fred); also very funny is Michael McKeen as the man trying to swindle Jack out of his casino. Other times the comedy is just a bit flat, backstory or front story. There are moments where jokes don't flow well, and certain jokes seem to be coming from another movie entirely. But overall, the laughs are consistently there, not always big but grinworthy. Besides, McKean and Herzog, for the amount of screen time they have, are almost worth the price of admission alone. Brett Ratner, of all people, also has a couple good moments that I suspect might be either hit or miss with most audiences.

Penn is obviously going for a Spinal Tap or Guest-like rendering of poker tournaments. The dry wit is there, but so are the obvious go-for-laugh moments. Its not nearly as subtle as it could have been. The actors though mostly all deliver. Commendable in particular is the performance by Gabe Kaplan, pro poker player and Welcome Back Kotter alumnus, as Seth Schwartzman. He's annoying, as he was meant to be, but also pretty funny. Ray Romano is also very funny as the neurotic lighting strike survivor Fred.

So improvisational was the set that Penn stated that they even improved the final table. They of course gave extra cash to players they wanted to win, but apparently things didn't pan out. Whatever the case, The Grand is overall a hit or miss affair that hits more often than it misses. I enjoy the impromptu nature of improv comedy, and the actors are clever enough to hit the funny in short bursts.

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Release Date:

7 June 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Zak Penn Project See more »


Box Office


$5,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,334, 23 March 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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