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The Grand (2007)

1 rating: 1.0
Comedy movie directed by Zak Penn

Stills from The Grand  (Click for larger image)                              

Tags: Movie
Director: Zak Penn
1 review about The Grand (2007)

Poker Anyone...............

  • Jul 14, 2008
Though not bad it had room for improvement but what makes "The Grand" successful in its on right is that it really does come across as a documentary. While it focuses a great deal on the wacky players, it also spends a great deal of time on the game itself. Penn is said to have given each actor some guidelines, letting them improvise the characters and to make things a tad more realistic, the final game was completely unscripted and played out exactly as the cards fell and though I never conceived that this had been the case (one would assume that the all important final showdown would be scripted), the final few hands certainly felt authentic. Not only was the interaction and game itself interesting but Penn and the actors involved managed to create characters that one cares for and regardless of who won, someone deserving was going home empty handed.

Each character is brought to life by a talented cast including Woody Harrelson as Faro, the out of luck, drugged up casino owner trying to win the big jackpot in order to save his own casino, David Cross and Cheryl Hines as Larry and Laine, siblings working through sibling rivalry and family issues, Dennis Farina as Deuce, the old timer who's been gambling since the beginning of time and reminisces about the old Vegas, Chris Parnell as the "Dune" obsessed socially awkward math wiz who still lives with his mom, Richard Kind as the new comer who apparently doesn't know what he's doing and Werner Herzog as the violent The German who believes "coffee is for pussies" and prefers to get his frustration out by killing animals. Though these are the main players, the cast of this film is a who's who of Hollywood and the gambling world with appearances from Hank Azaria, Brett Ratner, Jason Alexander and recognizable real-life poker stars Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth Jr. and Doyle Brunson (though I'm sure there are a number of others I don't recognize).

"The Grand" is humorous not always laugh out loud but funny. The comedy is in the characters along with their actions. Penn succeeds at something else as well: allowing the actors to create personas that one can't help but feel attached to and then bringing it all together into a film that feels truly authentic in an off the wall sort of way. Aside from that, it's about poker so if you don't like the game, you may want to avoid this but if you can follow a poker game with some entertainment you might come out with a winning hand.

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