CASINO JACK (George Hickenlooper). 108 minutes. Opens Friday (January 28). For movie times, theatres, and trailers see Movies. Rating: NNN
Once you get past the clichés, the unfortunate screenplay with its dependence on expository dialogue and even some of the lesser performances, Casino Jack is a lot of fun.
The late George Hickenlooper's final film sticks close to the facts to recount how Washington power lobbyist Jack Abramoff (an indelible Kevin Spacey) bribed politicians, scammed native Americans and finally got caught with millions of other people's dollars. He's aided by a partner (Barry Pepper) who wags his tail at money and the women it affords, and a greasy-looking mattress salesman (Jon Lovitz in the best thing he's done in years) who becomes frontman to Abramoff's far from legitimate casino business.
Casino Jack is no Thank You For Smoking, which was a more pointed satire about lobbying on Capitol Hill. But it seems to have enough on its plate just trying to keep a bombastic, scattershot and larger-than-life figure like Abramoff contained within the frame. The film ends up being just as eager to entertain as its main character, lobbying for laughs and distracting from the point at hand.
Hickenlooper does an adequate job detailing how currency moves in Washington. But, really, we're just here to watch Spacey overact and throw down some of his finest tantrums since American Beauty.