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Emily Blunt reviews The CoolerThe Cooler

Starring: William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and Alec Baldwin
Directed by: Wayne Kramer

The Cooler is smooth as fine scotch poured over ice baby! It's a hip love story of the "Vegas kind"...classic Vegas. It also has this pleasant Philip Marlowe-esque ambiance amidst the ting-a-linging of the slots thanks to its swell feel from cinematographer Jim Whitaker and production designer Toby Corbett.

Story goes...Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy) is not having a good day...heck his whole life is kinda dullsville down town. He's got luck so bad the Shangri-La casino keeps him employed as a "Cooler."

He simply needs to stand by a patron, lean in their way, or pass in their path and their "winning streaks" fizzle and pop like an Alka-Seltza© cube after a rough night of high-stakes Black Jack.

All that's about to change. He's just met Natalie (Maria Bello) a floor waitress. Natalie's different - she kind of digs Bernie...yes in that way. She's also a heap of trouble only beauti-full dames can conjure up for dem guys.

But there's more unlucky mayhem on the desert's horizon for saddy-cakes Bernie. Seems his manipulating old-school mob-reeking piranha of a boss Shelley (Alec Baldwin) aint too pleased with the union - or is he?

Who knows. See, Shelley' got his own troubles. A young corporate upstart (Ron Livingston) has just invaded his turf.The new kid's hell bent on updating the Shangri-La into the twenty-first century. No more knobby nagahyde booths, faux glass oil drizzeling chandeliers, aqua netted wait staff and huffin' lounge acts (Paul Sorvino) He's gonna use gambling psychology and modern seduction methods to revamp the place.

Over Shelley's dead body!

What fun. There's nothing quite like a good old fashioned movie. The characters are so rich you can practically smell the sweat of the Shangri-La's losers, decades thick, permeating from the casino walls right in your theater seat!

Of course the film belongs to William H. Macy. He gives Bernie an aching dread you can feel so deeply you squirm in your seat. After all Macy knows losers; he's built a career on them. But here, he crowns his niche with a platinum bejeweled performance. And once you get over seeing Macy naked - yes I said naked - and the sight comes back to your eyes, the movie unfolds brilliantly...

Alec Baldwin is menacing! This one fella, acting or not, I wouldn't wanna piss off or take the last Croissant roll on. That's for hiddy-ho sure...

Maria Bello morphs and slinks about in the flesh of Natalie to the point you're convinced she knew this lady at one time in her life. A powerful ass-kicking chickbabe job. And fyi all you feline adoring readers among us, she's gorgeous to boot.

Ron Livingston is an underrated talent. He gives good smarm beneath those devilish flickering eyes; he's aces baby, aces. Looks-wise? On a scale of one to George Clooney, Ron's about a steady eight. Keep your out for this palooka - he's got "it." Wanna see more now? Rent/buy Swingers or Office Space.

The Cooler is quite a treat. Slow and unraveling, rich and colorful. Bluntly speaking? It's Macy 'nough said?

Snack recommendation: Salted peanuts and a Long Island Ice Tea.


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