Deal Gil Cates Jr.

Deal Gil Cates Jr.
Lethargically directed, poorly acted and predictable to the core,Deal is the rare film that actually makes televised poker tournaments seem energized and vivacious. The characters exist as mere clichés to run through the motions of the sports movie formula without believable interaction or development, which is unsurprising considering that this movie is little more than a long commercial for pokerstars.net. Twenty-one-year-old online poker superstar Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison of TV’s Reaper) finds himself delving into the big leagues of poker only to be snuffed out early on by the leather-clad Razor (Jennifer Tilly). Seeing this on the telly, Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds) decides to take the overly ambitious college kid under his wing and teach him some obvious insights about "tells,” in addition to the importance of confidence. To really drive the latter point home, Tommy hires a hooker — unbeknownst to Alex — named Michelle (Shannon Elizabeth) to pretend to be the boy’s girlfriend, as scoring with the ladies is apparently similar to playing a tight hand of poker. Unsurprisingly, all of the main players in the major poker tournament show up at the final table in such an amusing "colours of Benetton” manner that the presence of an Inuit with a harpoon would likely go unnoticed. Director Cates, Jr. attempts to spice up the poker sequences with some snazzy student film editing but ultimately makes the movie look slightly cheaper than it would have if the same drab style had been utilized throughout. At least "washed out and bland” could have been considered a consistent and unique vision. Poker fans may be pleased to find their favourite players making cameos throughout the film, in addition to finding enjoyment in the "Winning Big at Texas Hold’Em with Isabelle Mercier and Greg Raymer” featurette (which is about as exciting as getting a prostate exam). But everyone else will be looking for the fast-forward button and wondering who all these crappy actors are. (MGM)