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Writer/director Wayne Kramer offers a glimpse into the aging Las Vegas casino world with the romantic drama The Cooler. Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy) is extremely unlucky at gambling, and he owes the Shangri-La casino over 100,000 dollars. He is so unlucky that he is hired as a "cooler," someone to gamble next to high rollers and give them some of his bad luck to stop them from winning. This arrangement works out for awhile, until Bernie has almost paid off his debt and meets cocktail waitress Natalie Belisario (Maria Bello). The two start to fall in love and Bernie's luck begins to change. However, the old-fashioned mob boss Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin) isn't going to let Bernie go so easily. Meanwhile, Larry Sokolov (Ron Livingston) arrives on the scene to help update the business management of the old mobster-run casino. Also starring Joey Fatone and Paul Sorvino as lounge singers. The Cooler was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the dramatic competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 170
- Fresh: 130
- Rotten: 40
- Average Rating: 6.7/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Baldwin bites into his role as if it were a 3 a.m. cheeseburger after a night of blackjack and booze.
Fresh: A surprising, ingenious film.
Rotten: Had The Cooler stuck to its dark guns and not turned into a treacly, love-conquers-all fairy tale, this movie might have gone somewhere.
Fresh: A winning drama that's only slightly too pleased with its own playful conceits, The Cooler features strong performances and flows with the grace and assurance of a Sinatra song.
A movie about change
The main story is the strange, ackward love story (meaning a love story about a strange and ackward man), but behind it is this great theme of the death of old Vegas. Give this movie a chance, you'll be glad you did.
Kind of like Fargo, this movie has extreme drama with a handful of action. It's a great film with a good cast. My favorite character is Baldwin, he's some perfectionist casino manager/owner and he's damn good at what he does. What's great about this movie is the side characters are just as interesting as the main character, which everyone loves because his disgruntled expression makes you pity him. Not to mention he's a pushover yet still has the babe.
Old School Vegas Sleeper
You will have good luck with this movie. I have been waiting for this to be released since lionsgate signed on to itunes. Great writing, Great actors. Great movie.