A "cooler" is a guy who stands next to you in a casino when you are having a winning streak that is suddenly interrupted. It is someone who has such a bad luck that people around him are influenced; he could be pretty important for casino bosses. The cooler here is Bernie and the face of William H. Macy is perfect for him. The casino boss is Shelly in a wonderful performance from Alec Baldwin. Soon Bernie will leave, but not before he has met and fallen in love with Natalie, played by Maria Bello (for me only known from 'Payback' and 'Coyote Ugly'), a third terrific performance. She seems to like him also and suddenly that means Bernie is lucky. This will give, unfortunately for Shelly and therefore himself as well, results on the casino floor. Things are getting complicated. The story is pretty original and entertaining on itself. A sub-plot that deals with the idea of remodeling the casino into a more modern one, not if it is up to Shelly, gives him a reason to be annoyed and show his more cruel side. Baldwin is at best in these scenes. The performances take the film to the next level. Baldwin won an Oscar nomination and it is pretty clear why. You believe him the entire time, no matter what he does. From Macy we expect a good performance, he is one of the best character-actors out there. I was also pleasantly surprised with Bello, an Oscar nomination would not have been strange here; she is very good, even great in the scenes with Macy. In the end 'The Cooler' is a good film, becoming better through performances, entertaining all the way through.
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In an old school Las Vegas casino, its top gambling jinx breaks his curse when he falls in love, much to his boss' consternation.
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April 2, 2019