Cinema Consults: THE COOLER

Physician's Money Digest, February15 2005, Volume 12, Issue 3

This film, which can be rentedfrom your local video store, israted on a scale of 1 to 4 caducei:

Be warned:

THE COOLER (2003): Everyonce in a while, itdoesn't hurt towatch a moody LasVegas picture, andthis one is a gemamong the genre.Director WayneKramer spins thetale of Bernie Lootz (William H.Macy), a man who is so unlucky thatold school casino owner ShellyKaplow (Alec Baldwin) hires him to"cool" the hot winning streaks of hiscasino's patrons. So what happenswhen a man who is totally unlucky inlife becomes lucky in love? All betsare off. The struggle between oldVegas and new Vegas (as manufacturedby Steve Wynn) frames thistainted love story and serves tounderline the sinister atmospherethat engulfs the film. AlthoughWilliam H. Macy never disappoints,he is particularly exceptional in thisrole. He crafts the character of ahopeless loser in a way that is bothpitiful and endearing. Alec Baldwin isalso worth mentioning; he's onescary guy in this movie and made meuneasy in each and every frame he'sin. I applaud his performance. Thecast as a whole is very strong and hasgreat chemistry, developing quiet,simple scenes into unforgettablescreen moments. Attimes, this is a very graphic film, butI think it is well executed (pardon thepun) and worth watching.

Rating: 3.5

Lisa A. Tomaszewski,

managing editor

of Physician's Money Digest, is currently

working on her PhD in literature at

Drew University in New Jersey. She is

an avid fan of film and has taught a

summer film course at Fairleigh

Dickinson University. She welcomes

questions, comments, or suggestions for

future film reviews at 732-656-1140

ext 195 or ltomaszewski@mwc.com.