More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.11%
Worth A Look: 37.84%
Pretty Bad: 5.41%
Total Crap: 8.11%

4 reviews, 13 user ratings

Latest Reviews

True Fiction by Jay Seaver

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Rob Gonsalves

Madeline's Madeline by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Two for the Money
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Even with this cast, don't bet on this film"
3 stars

“Two for the Money” attempts to convey the sweaty passion of sports betting, and how compulsion and obsession ruins the fun for everyone. Well acted by a cast led by Al Pacino, “Money,” after opening brightly and convincingly, soon falls into the formulaic and tedious traps set for all stories of speedy success.

After losing his shot at playing professional football, Brandon Lang (Mathew McConaughey) falls into work at a Las Vegas telephone sports betting hotline. Enjoying success, Brandon soon finds himself with a lucrative job offer from Walter Abrams (Al Pacino) to come to New York City and join his popular sports betting consulting agency. Renaming himself John Anthony, and adopting a confidence his clients cannot resist, Brandon reaches the heights of the underworld with his amazing forecasting abilities, only to find the temptations (including Rene Russo) of his lifestyle more dangerous than his clients.

Director D.J. Caruso has made a name for himself guiding projects riddled with clichés, and making something interesting, if imperfect, out of the raw materials ("The Salton Sea," "Taking Lives"). "Two for the Money" is where Caruso's luck starts to fail him. A hackneyed tale of the rise and fall of a superstar sports prognosticator, "Money" doesn't have the dramatic gas to see itself to the end.

That's not to say there aren't any thrills in watching "Money" run through the motions; the birth of Brandon as an important figure in his field is an entertaining one, and Dan Gilroy's script illustrates to the audience a distinctive portrait of Walter's consulting empire, and its feverish following of gambling addicts. As Brandon makes his transformation into John Anthony, Caruso gets the details (the style, the talk, the ease) right, trusting his cast to understand these desperate, yet confident characters, and allowing them to run with their performances. With a cast list this strong, it should come as no surprise that the performances are the least of the film's problems.

Even Al Pacino gives, for a majority of the film, a rich, nuanced performance unlike any of his recent grandstanding. He's terrific and genuine in his early scenes of revelation where Walter comes close to finding his knight in shining armor in Brandon.

However, like all great cinematic tales of success, what comes up must come down. Gilroy's script falls into deep formula and stalls as we watch Brandon's tumble from grace with the already lethargic plot elongated to the two-hour mark for no real reason. This part of the film delves the most into the addiction themes of the film, but Caruso confronts them so awkwardly, it's tough to get behind the compulsions and subsequent feelings of emptiness. As "Money" sniffs around looking for something to do, Pacino's performance gets louder, which is always a sure sign the actor is looking to overcompensate for a weak script. Sadly, his instincts are dead on here.

Like the insurance policies they are, McConaughey, Pacino, and Russo save "Two for the Money" from swallowing itself in cliché and misplaced passion. Caruso uses them wisely, but he can't direct his way around what amounts to a very tired screenplay for a very vibrant underground world.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/07/05 14:50:16
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

9/20/08 mr.mike Didn't care about sports , gambling or the characters. Paychecks for Al & Matt. 2 stars
1/14/07 chris not the kind of thing i usually watch but i enjoyed this 4 stars
12/07/06 ariaria al pacino turns anything he touches into gold! 5 stars
5/23/06 zaw Good Pacino! 5 stars
5/12/06 Jeff Bayless Good story but bad acting 3 stars
5/10/06 Nicole L. Too predictable and Pacino is annoying. 2 stars
1/30/06 WiseMan My Uncle got killed by Russian Mobsters To Gambling, So i can Relate to this movie. 5 stars
1/22/06 Jeff Anderson A big waste of talent & time(especially Pacino's)! This could & should have been great. 1 stars
10/12/05 Elizabeth S Pacino is always fascinating to watch -- interesting film. 3 stars
10/10/05 nayan its pacino so all you haters can go to hell 4 stars
10/09/05 rory not very good, not worth the 10 bucks i spend. Wait for this 1 to come out on cable... 3 stars
10/08/05 Kid_Chronic Erik Childress has no idea what gambling is, 2 for the $ is 100% inaccurate 1 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  07-Oct-2005 (R)
  DVD: 17-Jan-2006



Directed by
  D.J. Caruso

Written by
  Dan Gilroy

  Al Pacino
  Matthew McConaughey
  Rene Russo
  Jeremy Piven
  Armand Assante
  Jaime King

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast