Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Grand - DVD Review

THE GRAND (**) - Starring Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Dennis Farina, Cheryl Hines, Chris Parnell, Richard Kind, Ray Romano, Michael McKean, Werner Herzog, Judy Greer, Estelle Harris, Gabe Kaplan, Barry Corbin, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Alexander, Mike Epps, Brett Ratner, Phil Laak and Hank Azaria.
Written & Directed by Zak Penn.

I can't help but notice that some of the actors in here were also regulars on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown. I'm surprised they didn't have Jennifer Tilly wander through. There's also several cameos from poker pros like Doyle Brunson and Phil Gordon.

I will say if you think watching others play poker is like watching paint dry, this will do nothing to dissuade you, and the main problem with the last half-hour is we can look at the cast and see how the movie's gone and predict pretty closely the order of elimination. I think they should have pared it down by ten or fifteen characters and then focussed some storylines. For instance, Jason Alexander and Hank Azaria introduce interesting characters, and then they're never seen again. Yet Ray Romano's shtick gets old long before he's done.

This largely improv'd comedy seems like at the outset what Christopher Guest would do with the poker scene. Michael McKean is even here as an ambitious real-estate developer. Some actors are better than others at it, but I chuckled out loud a couple times. I found myself wishing there was less poker and more jokes.

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