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Casino Jack Gets Mixed Reviews

Written by:
Jordan Bach
Published on:
Dec/20/2010
Casino Jack

Casino Jack, the film about Washington lobbyist Jack Abrahamoff, was getting mixed reviews after opening this past weekend.  The film has received a 43 percent rating on the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.

Abramoff was convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and tax evasion in 2006 and of trading expensive gifts, meals and sports trips in exchange for political favors.  He was also accused of defrauding Indians who ran casinos.  Some of his biggest clients included online gambling firms. 

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes:

Golden Globe nominee Kevin Spacey has a ball and then some playing the devil inside Jack Abramoff, the corrupt GOP lobbyist who ran wild during the W. years.

David Denby of the New Yorker writes:

Hickenlooper works in brief, vibrant scenes and happy sunshine -- the movie is meant to be a giddy entertainment more than a morality tale, though the giddiness is trailed by an appropriate tug of unease.

Prairie Miller of Newsblaze.com writes:

Spacey grabs attention and sets the tone for all the sarcastic skullduggery from the start, as he's hauled into jail and demands a private cell and a kosher diet. And zooms into his nonstop rant on auto-spin, between bible classes and golf with Bush.

Close to 70 percent of the reviews were negative however.

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times wasn’t thrilled by the film.

Though the film is peppered with one-liners tailor-made for Spacey to sling with stinging effect, it doesn't so much leave you laughing as just weary, and wishing this weren't a true story at all.

Robert Koeler of Variety writes:

Compounding matters is an ungainly lead perf by Kevin Spacey, emphasizing superficial cynicism, and George Hickenlooper's direction, which lacks the bravura necessary to bring the most emblematic episode of recent Washington corruption fully to life.

A similar sense of pointlessness also undid Hickenlooper's "Factory Girl," about Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol, but the effect here is more sour, since "Casino Jack" could have been a crackerjack comedy-thriller with the right handling. Spacey's performance is misconceived in both detail and tone, resulting in a character few will care about, and yet is also not delicious in his amorality. Preston's big emotional scene is a misstep in an otherwise good but reactive role, while Pepper projects pure male id.

- Jordan Bach, Gambling911.com

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