The Gambler (REVIEW)

The Gambler

Mark Wahlberg can't save a tired script and been there done that theme from feeling fresh.

Mark Walhberg proves again that he is one of the hardest working men in Hollywood by starring in yet another film - this one is called "The Gambler."

Wahlberg is Jim Bennett, a college lecturer who also has a gambling problem (hence the name of the film). Bennett doesn't gamble small, he gambles big, and ends up owing a couple powerful people huge amounts of money. He owes $260,000 to the owner of an illegal Chinese gambling hall, and another $50,000 to a loan shark. So Bennett decides to get advice from another loan shark - Frank (John Goodman). Bennett meets Frank in a man's bathhouse - with Frank wrapped up in a towel. Ladies, if you ever wanted to see John Goodman half naked, then this film's for you. With no other way to get the money he owes, he decides to ask his rich mother for money (a very tired and unglamorous looking Jessica Lange). She reluctantly gives him the money, literally handing him a bag of cash right outside the bank, and giving him an ultimatum that he better pay his debts with the money or she never wants to see him again. So what does Bennett do? He takes the money, and instead of paying back his debts, he decides to take one of his students - Amy (Brie Larson) and gambles all the money away. One last hope for him is if he can get one of his other students, who happens to be a star on the college's basketball team, to fix a game. Needless to say,and either way, Bennett is screwed.

The Gambler is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name which starred James Caan which got very good reviews. This version will not be as lucky. While Wahlberg is good, we've seen this type of movie plot before oh so many times: lonely man with a problem who romances a much younger woman and then tries to redeem his life. However, nothing can redeem this movie. The scenes between Walhberg and Lange and Wahlberg and Goodman look forced. Wahlberg is not believable as a literature professor, his character looks too gruff and unprofessional - he even ridicules some of his students in class. Lange is not at her best, but John Goodman does do a good job in the few scenes that he is in (towel or not). Director Rupert Wyatt brings nothing new to the theme of the movie, we've seen it all before. So don't gamble with your time and money to see The Gambler.

Tim Baros