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Bookies (2002)

Cast: Nick Stahl, Lukas Haas, Johnny Galecki, more...
Director: Mark Illsley
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Studio: MGM
Genre: Coming of Age
Running Time: 90 min.
Languages: English, Spanish
Subtitles: French
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Recently Rented By KKelleman

The sophomore outing for Mark Illsley, the writer and director of 1999's Happy Texas, Bookies is a return to the crime comedy genre of the filmmaker's first project. Starring Nick Stahl, Lukas Haas, and Johnny Galecki as college buddies Toby, Casey, and Jude, the film begins with the trio upset over a substantial gambling loss. After paying up, they decide that they are on the wrong side of the transaction and concoct a plan to become bookies themselves. Working in the shadows so as not to let on that they are anything but professionals, the young entrepreneurs devise a system that involves leaving money in unpopular books at the library where Jude works. Before they know it, the guys are rolling in the dough. Casey buys a bunch of computer equipment, Jude gets himself a drug habit, and Toby uses his newfound wealth to impress Hunter, a fellow student played by Rachael Leigh Cook. But just as fast as things started to go well, they take an unexpected turn. The boys are making so much money that they're cutting into the business of the local mafia. As one might expect, the thugs don't take too kindly to competition. Also starring John Diehl and David Proval, Bookies premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Matthew Tobey, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Cooking the Bookies by talltale September 5, 2004 - 12:15 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
BOOKIES sounds like rookies. Or cookies. Maybe schnookies. Or any other cutesy, one-word title. And it plays that way, too: mediocre, run-of-the-mill, paint-by-numbers moviemaking. A nice cast never gets much chance to shine amidst this story of the rise and fall of college-boy bookies. The ins-and-outs of their bet-placing, pick-ups and drop-offs is fun and different (they use the school library), but the movie, which keeps threatening to go into more interesting nooks and crannies, never does. Though the story takes place in the US, it was filmed in Cologne, Germany, which evidently can now stand in for Toronto as a favored tax-break, cheaper-to-film-here, faux-US location. Boy, Hollywood just ain't Hollywood no more! (The cliches, however, remain the same.)
This is also, probably without conscious or deliberate intent, a very anti-woman movie. Thinking about it after a viewing, you realize that, in the moviemakers' world, women have absolutely no raison d'etre. The only important female character, played by Rachel Leigh-Cook, could be removed from the film without a bit of trouble. And the other women on view (minimally) are either bimbos or bitches. Normally, I wouldn't bother to register a complaint this tired and obvious. But in a movie like BOOKIES, which is barely able to justify its existence, this jaundiced view stands out more unpleasantly than usual.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.50)
8 Votes
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