THE COOLER is a quirky, but graphic, romantic comedy that delves into very dark, film noir territory. It tries for the sense of goofy surprise that has become a trademark of most of Quentin Tarrantino’s movies, but it’s not as smoothly done.
William H. Macy plays the title role in the movie, which is about a sad sack, down-on-his-luck man named Bernie, working at a casino in Las Vegas. Bernie is in hock to Shelly, the casino’s evil owner, who uses Bernie to “cool down” hot gamblers and hot tables. Amazingly, all Bernie has to do is touch a roulette wheel or stand next to a gambler for the tides of fortune to turn in favor of “the House.”
One day, however, a pretty blonde waitress at the casino, Natalie, takes a sudden interest in Bernie. After fornicating with Bernie, Natalie finds herself unexpectedly falling in love with Berne, and Bernie’s luck begins to change, much to the chagrin of Shelly. Making matters worse is that Shelly is feeling pressure from the mob bosses, who want him to re-fashion the casino into a modern, family-friendly resort.
THE COOLER could have been a much more accessible comic thriller were it not for its obscene amount of strong foul language, graphic sex, explicit nudity, and crude violence. This objectionable content keeps fighting the movie’s lighter tone, to the detriment of both the cast and the crew. The movie keeps viewers wondering whether Bernie’s luck has really changed, or whether he and Natalie will succumb to the tragic fate of Romeo and Juliet. The question remains doubtful until the very end. The best part of the movie, however, is the fact that Bernie clearly draws strength from Natalie’s love. Regrettably, however, the movie pollutes their love by focusing so much on the graphic sex and nudity.
Please address your comments to:
Tom Ortenberg, President
Lions Gate FIlms
4553 Glencoe Ave., Suite 200
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Phone: (310) 314-2000
Fax: (310) 396-6041
SUMMARY: THE COOLER is a quirky, comical film noir about a sad sack who finds his luck changing when a pretty waitress falls in love with him. THE COOLER could have been a much more accessible comic thriller were it not for its obscene amount of foul language, graphic sex, explicit nudity, and crude violence.
(PaPa, B, LLL, VVV, SSS, NNN, A, DD, MM) Mixed pagan worldview focusing on being lucky and unlucky, with some moral elements including character says “Thank you, God” three times; at least 130 mostly strong obscenities, 12 strong profanities, eight light profanities, and obscene gesture; very strong violence includes villain shoves woman’s face into mirror, woman’s face bleeds with deep cuts in it, man shot in head from behind, aftermath of terrible car crash shown, man brutally beats up another man in restroom, man confesses giving another man too much heroin, villain punches phony pregnant lady in belly, and villain hits man’s legs with baseball bat; depicted fornication, implied fornication, implied oral sex, and nude couple lies on bed in several scenes; full female nudity, obscured full male nudity, many shots of upper female nudity, rear nudity, and upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking and man shoots heroin and later dies; and, gambling, cheating, lying, gangsterism, and rage.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy/Film Noir