Owning Mahoney DVD review

Film / Video Reviews
Owning Mahoney DVD review
Oct 14, 2003, 16:47

OWNING MAHONEY directed by Richard Kwietniowski; Columbia Tristar, 2003

Dan Mahoney doesn't have a gambling problem. He has a money problem. Not enough money to gamble with. So the $22,000-a-year Toronto bank loan officer begins to forge for loans on his institution's largest loan, wracking up $5 million in debt. The doughy, obese, bespectacled Dan, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, hits Atlantic City with his loser's love for tossing dice with predictable results.

Owning Mahoney is an excellent walk in the shoes of a nobody with a major Jones for the tables. His lack of flash and panache is somewhat of a downer, though, and I would have liked to have seen him engage in the fruits of the gambling world. The irony that he doesn't, refusing women, wine and song, sits well but also cools the tempo. Hoffman doesn't quite nail the desperation because his character is, as he is called by the pit-men minding the tables in the flick, “the ice man.” Even his scramble to satisfy his debtors is done with poker face. I need some emotion, any emotion. Minnie Driver, as his live-in, milk-sop girlfriend, can barely ratchet up the intensity, despite the fact that Dan is throwing her over for some felt and chips.

Gambling flicks are almost always a decent ride, given the seedy concept of tossing good money after better. Witness Hard Eight if you want to see the exemplary chip flick.


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