"Not a Great Deal"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(H, B, C, LL, SS, N, A, D, MM) Light humanist worldview with a slight moral, redemptive message of self-sacrifice; nine obscenities and four profanities; no violence; depicted scenes of sexual promiscuity and references to prostitution; upper male nudity, woman in underwear; mild alcohol use; smoking; and, gambling, lying to parents, lying to wife, older adult “buying” prostitute for young man, and father provides a negative role model.
DEAL is the story of poker tournament newcomer Alex (played by Bret Harrison) who must compete against his mentor, veteran player Tommy (played by Burt Reynolds), in a multi-million dollar championship. The movie is mostly entertaining, but not memorable in its storyline or any other production element. There is a surprise ending, but it’s even pretty obvious. Burt Reynolds plays the aging veteran with something left to prove in an engaging manner. However, his performance is mostly stoic, “poker face” stares. Viewers are left to wonder what the character is thinking. The movie is rather short in running time, so it does keep to a brisk pace, which should hold the audience’s attention.
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.