Monday, June 28, 2004

The Cooler

This was a wonderful film for the most part, a rarity in that it pulls almost no punches with the execution of its plot. The story is fairly simple, a man, Bernie, has such bad luck that he can actually spread it to those around him. Employed by casino manager Shelly as a cooler (he keeps the high rollers from winning too much by spreading his luck). Bernie falls for a waitress , and as she in turn falls for him that luck begins to change. Shelly will do anything to get his most valuable asset back, including erradicating Bernie's good fortune. See, simple, and even a bit mystical for the type of story it is, neither comedy, nor fantasy, more of a straight up dramatic tale. William H. Macy plays Bernie, and like every other role he's ever played, seems born for the part. Alec Baldwin plays Shelly, and steals the film away from Macy, you honestly don't know whether to like the guy or just wish him the most painful death possible. Maria Bello plays the love interest, Natalie, and this is without a doubt her greatest acting accomplishment. For those that don't recognize the name, she was the bar owner (and probably the only good part of the movie) in Coyote Ugly. I've always thought she was a great actress, but this film proves it. A great character piece that probably relies on it's supernatural twist a bit too much towards the end, but quite enjoyable despite that. Definitely recommended.


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