Not a Great Deal
Release Date: April 25, 2008
Starring: Bret Harrison, Burt Reynolds,
Charles Durning, Michael
Sexton, Jennifer Tilly, and
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 86 minutes
Director: Gil Cates, Jr.
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Michael Arata, Marc Weinstock
and Steven Austin
Writer: Gil Cates, Jr. and Marc
Address Comments To:Harry E. Sloan, Chairman/CEO
Clark Woods, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution
MGM Studios Inc. (Partially owned by Sony Corporation of America)
10250 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 900067
Phone: (310) 449-3000
Fax: (310) 449-8819
At first, 21-year-old Alex is trained by Tommy since Tommy made a vow to his wife 20 years ago, after losing everything, that he would give up gambling. It is a positive element of the movie that he has kept that vow for 20 years. When asked if he “misses cards,” he replies, “Not as much as I’d miss my wife.”
Tommy begins to tutor Alex in how to play, though not playing himself, but he lies to his wife and loses $10,000 in the process. When his wife leaves him, he figures he has nothing to lose, so he goes back to playing cards. The movie is quick to point out that Tommy needs to win a championship tournament for the sake of self-esteem and then he can leave cards and retire with his wife. However, the message for potential addicts of gambling is that you can go back “one more time” and not have negative consequences. In that regard, the movie delivers a potentially harmful message.
DEAL also has some foul language, but the movie’s biggest negative traits are its sex scenes and the facts that Tommy lies to his wife and Alex lies to his parents about their trips to Vegas to learn to play poker. Alex’s dad is an uncaring father who doesn’t seem to really know his son. Only when his son wins a few million dollars does he seem to relent. Tommy arranges a prostitute for his protégé. Alex falls in love with her, only to learn later that she was a paid date.
The movie does affirm that Alex must choose to put others above himself, so it does have an element of a moral, redemptive message. It is an entertaining movie, but there are better movies available, so DEAL doesn’t warrant much attention. In fact, it deserves an extreme caution for its sexual content. To see what’s out in theaters or which DVDs would make for a good family movie night, check out www.movieguide.org instead.
DEAL is entertaining, but not memorable. Burt Reynolds plays Tommy, the aging veteran, in an engaging manner. The movie also is rather short, so it keeps to a brisk, compelling pace. DEAL has some foul language, but the movie’s biggest negative traits are its sexual content, its main characters who lie, and a message that you can go back to gambling without negative consequences. The movie’s ending affirms that Alex must choose to put others above himself, so it does have an element of a moral, redemptive message. The sex scenes, however, merit extreme caution.