Ante up for a sure entertainment bet from L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson, who co-wrote this charmer with fellow Academy Award winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump). Pro gambler Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) meets irresistible Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore) and learns to treat love the way he treats cards: trusting his heart instead of his head. He also scrambles to raise the entry fee for the high-roller World Series of Poker, even though – or maybe because – the tournament may pit him against his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a two-time Series winner.
I’m personally not a huge fan of watching or playing poker, so I was a bit skeptical on whether or not I was going to enjoy this movie. The film surprised me though, besides being thoroughly entertaining, it also seemed to lack predictability, which is something that I truly admire a film not having.
I’ve been to Vegas a fair amount of times, seen the gambling, and from what I could tell, this movie tackled those scenes in a fairly realistic manner. The movie covers the world of high stakes poker and the thrilling butterflies of new romance. We see Huck Cheever (played by Eric Bana) scurry to gather the $10,000 entry fee to take part in the poker world’s most prestigious contest. The tournament heats up as we see Huck pitted against his estranged father (played by Robert Duvall). Along the way his path crosses with Billie Offer (played by Drew Barrymore) who teaches him that in order to truly succeed he must first learn to live life the way he plays cards, by trusting his heart instead of his head.
The special features on this release are quite enjoyable as well with additional scenes, a behind the scenes look with the poker players in the movie, and the reel deal feature. All in all, don’t be scared away by the fact that this film deals with poker if you’re not a poker fan. It has a lot more to offer than just that storyline. What happens in Vegas, shouldn’t stay in Vegas with this release.
Review by Emma Loggins