The Grand (R)



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Time Out says

Tue Mar 18 2008

Why does The Grand suck so much, while other poker movies merely make you want to pluck your eyes out? Mainly it’s a concentration of faults: Like Lucky You, it takes bright, speedy actors—the biggest casualties being Woody Harrelson as a drugged-out casino scion and Cheryl Hines as a tough-talking champ—and neutralizes their comedic charms. Like Rounders or even Casino Royale, it complicates Hold ’Em’s essential strategic appeal via boneheaded plays. And sorry, but unless your fancy is global thermonuclear war and your movie WarGames, most table contests are simply a drag to watch on the big screen. (Passing the time on TV: another story.)
Ah, but we haven’t even gotten to the smug Brett Ratner cameo. Or the way The Grand apes that talk-to-the-camera mockumentary format that was already getting tired for Christopher Guest five years ago. According to press notes, the film was largely improvised, with the outcomes of several hands affecting the plot. Naturally, this tactic doesn’t bode well for a smartly constructed narrative (a short comedic skit, maybe). Only the tart presence of Teutonic terror Werner Herzog, playing a mysterious gambler called “the German,” earns this movie a modicum of interest; the way he randomly calls coffee “a beverage of cowards” raises the stakes momentarily.


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Release details



US release:

Fri Mar 21, 2008


104 mins

Cast and crew


Zak Penn


Estelle Harris, Michael McKean, Michael Karnow, Richard Kind, Ray Romano, Andrea Savage, Jason Alexander, Shannon Elizabeth, Gabe Kaplan, Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Chris Parnell, Mike Epps, Judy Greer, Werner Herzog


Stephen Endelman


Mark Bierman


Anthony Hardwick

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