Quoth Kenny Rogers: If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right.
Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) can’t play it right – can’t play anything right – and so skulks along like a sullen teenager, spouting “who says?” and “fawk you!”.
A (thoroughly unconvincing) professor of English, all jumping on tables and swearing, our protagonist is a 100-minute anchor. Unlikeable, uninteresting – his fate is utterly inconsequential.
There wants to be something deeper here: ruminations on addiction and genius, magical and material. It doesn’t really work out that way though. It doesn’t really work at all.
Thanks to the presence of Goodman, Larson and Lange we’re presented with a stacked deck, so how come it feels like we spend two hours holding the bridge rules card?
CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Michael K. Williams, Jessica Lange
DIRECTOR: Rupert Wyatt
WRITER: William Monahan (adapted screenplay), James Toback (1974 film)
SYNOPSIS: English professor Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself in debt to the wrong man, three times over, and reluctantly concocts a plan to clear his slate and save his life, as well as that of his family and the student with whom he is pursuing a relationship.