The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Win Win

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  4_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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   Win Win

Fresh from his stint as the morally challenged Barney, Paul Giamatti’s back and sweeter, as Michael Flaherty, small town lawyer, husband and father eking out a modest existence in New Providence, New Jersey.

Partner Stephen Vigman (Jeffrey Tambor) is a CPA who worries a lot about broken appliances without volunteering the resources to fix them.  Both men coach the local high school wrestling team in their spare time.

As an attorney, Flaherty assumes guardianship of Leo (Bert Young) one of his well-heeled clients who is suffering from the early stages of dementia.  Leo’s got an estranged daughter, Cindy (Melanie Lynskey) and a grandson, 16-year-old Kyle, (Alex Shaffer) who suddenly shows up solo for a visit.  As his story unfolds both Mike and Jackie become involved in Kyle’s situation like they never could have imagined.

Leo’s guardianship has a benefit for Mike that causes him to abandon his integrity for the sake of his family, or so he tells himself.  This breach will come back to haunt him later.

Kyle seems sullen and traumatized at first, but displays a reasonable, even caring nature, bonding with the Flaherty’s young daughter Abby.  Jackie is a spitfire of maternal protection, wanting to protect Kyle and pound sense into his irresponsible, neglectful no-show of a mom.  Jackie is not a shy woman.

Flaherty feels responsible for the boy as does his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan).  Both allow him to live with them for a while.  Kyle’s a former high school wrestling star who quickly revitalizes the underdog New Providence team so much that they actually become regional championship contenders.

Mike’s friend Terry (Bobby Cannavale) is a colorful wiseass who sends pix of that body part to his ex-wife.  He’s an overgrown kid who joins Flaherty’s wrestling team as an enthusiastic, if verbally inappropriate assistant coach.  Like Jackie, he’s a straight shooter, not prone to sugar coating, with none of Mike’s diplomacy.

Everything seems to be going well for all involved until Kyle’s freshly rehabbed mother shows up to shake up everyone’s cozy little existence.  She wants to assume guardianship of her father (for the money) and uproot Kyle back to Ohio (because she can).

As Mike’s questionable decision regarding Leo’s care surfaces, Cindy retains a lawyer, Kyle feels betrayed and Jackie is angry and disappointed with her husband.  Events progress from there going from smooth to terribly tangled faster than Kyle can pin an opponent in a match.

Paul Giamatti’s Flaherty is a bundle of good intentions harboring a sneaky self-serving secret.  He’s so sympathetic you forgive him, understand him, and wish him well despite his flaws.

Newcomer Alex Shaffer is a young man who can play one to perfection.  The hurt, distrust, disappointment and stoic self sufficiency come through in a very plausible and he makes it look easy.  Amy Ryan portrays the no-nonsense Jackie like an iron fist encased in velvet.  Jeffrey Tambor’s bumbling Vig lends heart to the situation as the worry wart warrior full of insecurities.

Cannavale’s Terry is a likeable loose cannon whose vocabulary includes the inane and profane in equal measure, and if he isn’t stealing a scene, he’s lurking around it with his hand in its pocket.  Bert Young is a gruff physical presence with an increasingly fragile mind.

Director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) helms a slice of life tale that involves the viewer as if they are part of the proceedings.  Full of ambivalence, heart, the finagling and the eccentric, Win Win puts you in its Full-Nelson and pins you before you know what hit you.

The thing is, you probably won’t mind a bit.


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