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The Grand|halbwegs guter Poker-Film

    • Panny1
      Dabei seit: 03.02.2006 Beiträge: 12.224


      Mal gute Schauspieler, keine absolut verblödete Story.

      Review - paar Spoiler:

      Though most recognize Zak Penn as being the guy who writes all those superhero flicks (X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk), he also has a wicked sense of humor. Back when he was still writing with Adam Leff, the two penned the hilarious cult hit PCU, and three years ago Penn teamed up with filmmaker Werner Herzog on the mockumentary Incident at Loch Ness. Now, he's back in the director's chair with one of two poker flicks playing at this year's Tribeca Film Festival; the other being the Curtis Hanson film Lucky You. Featuring an all-star cast of talent, and some of the funniest on-screen bits I've seen in a long time, The Grand marks Penn's second mockumentary -- a no-holds-barred look at the highly-comedic (at times), yet painful world of high-stakes tournament poker.

      For me, it was a film that by far topped anything Christopher Guest has worked on recently, and though there are times when Penn gives his actors a little too much freedom -- to a point where the joke has already run its course -- The Grand ultimately ends up being a rare gem; I guess you could say it's the Royal Flush of comedies. But like with most mockumentaries, the majority of credit has to be given to the pic's cast. Here we have a talented group of veteran comedic actors who, when let loose, managed to deliver the goods in bulk. It didn't matter what part of the story they were up to or who was on screen, these people put so much funny into their performances that if you're not blinded by the tears your laughter has created, then I'd say something is definitely wrong. Either your sense of humor left you for another woman, or you just didn't get it. And if it's the latter then, well, you're really missing out -- because, folks, this truly is what comedy is all about.

      Though there's a pretty big ensemble cast to work with here, the majority of the story revolves around One Eyed Jack Faro (Woody Harrelson); a degenerate drug addict whose grandfather left him a hotel-casino when he passed, only to piss it all away in bad deal with a moronic real estate developer (Michael Mckean). After three years in a rehab facility, Jack (who's been married over 70 times) decides its time to get back out on the strip and try to find a way to save his casino. His idea? To enter The Grand; a poker tournament where the winner takes home a cool $10 million. But with some heavy competition, Jack's mission won't be an easy one to accomplish.

      In order to collect those winnings, buy his way out of a dept and save that casino, Jack will have to beat folks like Harold Melvin (Chris Parnell as a dorky braniac who will forever live at home with mom, compares everything and everyone to Dune and tries to compensate for his insecurity by mixing several vitamins into a drink he calls his "brain juice"), Deuce Fairbanks (Dennis Farina as the old school gambler who favors the days when you'd lose to a guy, then go outside and break his leg), Lainie Schwartzman (Cheryl Hines as the tough-as-nails mother of five, and the only woman in competition), her brother Larry Schwartzman (David Cross as a guy who attempts to remove himself from underneath his sister's shadow by enforcing a menacing attitude), The German (Werner Herzog as the quintessential hard-edged German, who kills animals with his bare hands just for the rush) and Andy Andrews(Richard Kind as the Cinderella story who won a spot in the tournament by winning a game online).

      But those are just the main players; aside from these folks you have Lainie's insecure stay-at-home husband Fred (played by the scene-stealing Ray Romano) who doesn't bring in any income, but acts as if his fantasy football league is just as important as Lainie's $10 million poker tournament. Andy's good-natured wife Sharon (Judy Greer) and Harold's over-protective mother Ruth (Estelle Harris) also help tack on plenty of laughs. Yet, even with all those hilarious characters, we're still not done -- The Grand also includes a truckload of cameos from real-life professionals like Phil Gordon to familiar funnymen Hank Azaria, Jason Alexander and Gabe Kaplan. Heck, even director Brett Ratner shows up to add to this full-on comedic assault.

      As easy as it would've been for Zak Penn to just let the camera roll while this cast does their thing, the film is surprisingly well edited and tight in all the right spots. It moves at a fast pace, gives each character just enough screen time to have us wanting more and never stops to let the audience catch its breath. When improv is used properly, nothing should seem too forced, or too out of left field. And while there are maybe one or two moments where Penn pushes it to that edge where any further shtick would be deemed unnecessary, he always makes up for it in the next scene. Though you don't have to be a fan of poker in order to enjoy the film, those that obsessively watch tournaments on TV will have fun with all the names, warped disguises and bluff moves. Under the assumption that people actually go see this film when it eventually hits theaters -- and I guess you can say I'm going all-in with the following statement -- The Grand should end up going down as one of the best ensemble comedies of the past 20 years.

      Wenns dazu schon einen Thread gibt, dann getrost ignorieren ;)
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