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 »
(at around 39 mins) when "The German" claims to have played Russian roulette with slave traders, the picture clearly shows him holding a pistol with a magazine, and not a revolver. See more »
"The Grand" is funny in parts, but overall there are three unfunny minutes for every funny minute. The movie starts fairly strong, and I was honestly hoping that it would keep up the humor, but it did not. Which is a shame.
Interestingly, what does not work in this film is the poker. At a Q&A after the movie (at the Tribeca Film Festival), the director made a point of immediately stating that the poker was real. They dealt the cards and the actors played in character and the results were up to fate. Very interesting idea. Unfortunately, that did not carry to the movie. There was almost no excitement or tension to the poker tournament, perhaps because it is impossible to build tension in the results of a game when that game is severely edited. I hate to say it, but this film is less exciting and less entertaining than an episode Bravo's "Celebrity Poker." Even though the poker tournament itself is boring, this movie still could have been laugh out loud funny. Unfortunately, it isn't. I hold no grudge against the filmmaker for taking a direct copy of the Christopher Guest play book and running with it. I only wish he'd been more successful so that I could have laughed more than infrequently.
Hopefully this movie's failure will not discourage others from using this formula. I would love to have more comedies in this style. It is not like Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy are the only two people alive who can come up with a concept for a mockumentary. Actually, it's my opinion that "The Grand" has a better premise than several Guest/Levy creations. It should be very funny and entertaining. Unfortunately, it is not.
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