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Monday, January 31, 2011

Casino Jack | Review

Sunkmanitu Tanka Owaci. Yeah figure that one out. Muahahahahah.
So what we have here is kind of an on and off again entertaining movie. For those who don't know the true story this movie it's based on, this is the story of Jack Abramoff played by Kevin Spacey who was once a super lobbyist in Washington D.C until he was involved in this huge corruption scandal involving swindling tens of millions of dollars from Native American casinos amongst other wonderful wrongdoings like political bribery and murder.
For the most part, Casino Jack is an enjoyable satirical comedy. The problem is that I followed this story quite closely two years back and I know what really went down so I couldn't get the thought out of my mind on how inaccurate this movie was. One being that this is a really emphatic movie about Abramoff. Kevin Spacey here is playing this total douchebag in real life as a sweet, movie loving, wise cracking guy who just did some fucked up shit.
I did find myself loving the character Spacey was portraying but that's not how Abramoff is in real life. I mean he's the scummest of scumbags people. But with a bit of belief suspension, you'll find yourself drawn to Kevin Spacey's character because reality aside.. he is one funny guy to watch. When you have a movie where the bad guy is the lead, the director and Spacey did a good job to make Abramoff lovable. Charming really. He reminded me of Jake Gyllenhall's character from Love And Other Drugs where he's this asshole that gets what he wants by manipulating other people, but at the same time, he has such a flair and style to doing it that you can't help but love the guy. Spacey's version is more goofy than flair and it was jackass awesome.
Great to see Jon Lovitz back to doing good comedy. He was an unmitigated disaster in this. But that's not really a bad thing if you're Jon Lovitz. I thought he was actually what Casino Jack needed at times just to point the film back on the goofy path when things got too serious. Sure, it's a brain dead performance and even more brain dead story development but hey, I was brain dead watching it and I was loving the sillyness.
On the other hand, there are some disastrously misguided casting choices, beginning with Kelly Preston as Jack's wife and even though she exhibits some swagger towards the beginning to the film, she is unable to keep up with Spacey, Lovitz and Barry Pepper who developed a great camaraderie of goody sillyness while she's stuck playing the one-dimensional wife.
The story was all over the place at times. Again, this is coming from a guy who knew the case and I can tell you that these guy's really took an artistic license when writing the story. They probably went, "Hmm.. how do I make this funny? Oh I know.. I'll put in some shit that never really happened and have Jon Lovitz turn to the camera and go, ACTING!"
I think I would have liked Casino Jack more if it was a simple television movie. Many of it's gaping flaws would have been forgiven because it's production value terribly fits that of a cinema format.
Ultimately, this is a movie for people who aren't that into politics to watch, have fun and learn a small fraction of something. It's a joy watching Spacey and Lovitz interact here but Casino Jack is gravely mediocre at best. Average, amateurish filmmaking.

RATING: 4/10

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