MOVIE RATING: 3.5 stars (B)
Director Thomas McCarthy’s latest film, Win Win (2011) follows in the “youth” sports movie footsteps of such classics as Hoosiers (1986), Rudy (1993), The Karate Kid (1984), Peaceful Warrior (2006), and Remember The Titans (2000), not to mention several other sports-themed movies that would love to be in that group of classics. Win Win lands on the fence in my opinion…on the cusp of being included with the great sports movies. It probably just needs some time and repeated viewings to be fully appreciated. I saw the film back in the Spring of 2011 when it was still in the theaters. And I definitely want to catch it again on blu-ray. Win Win is a very good film, but it does fall prey to some typical cliches for the genre that I feel have been done enough and in better movies. So while Win Win was good, it wasn’t as fresh as I would’ve liked it to be.
Paul Giamatti is excellent as always, delivering a typical quirky performance that he is so well known for. The real surprise here is the hilarious and awesome best friend character played by Bobby Cannavale. Together, these 2 guys generate most of the laughs in the film. But supporting roles by Amy Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, and Burt Young also shine. The real win in Win Win is the writing in McCarthy’s screenplay. The dialogue is superb and the story generally satisfies in all the typical ways we’ve come to expect from sports movies. I only wish there was something new to grab on to. All the typical events that happen in these genre films happen here. There well done…yes. But too familiar to shine above those that came before.
The production design, cinematography, sound, music, and editing are all well executed in Win Win. I saw this movie projected on 35mm film, and it did look a bit muddy on the big screen, but I have a feeling the HD presentation on the blu-ray is much better. You really can’t go wrong with giving Win Win a watch. Even though it is a bit predictable, it’s a fun, well-acted and enjoyable movie.
Check out details on the film and its excellent Blu-ray presentation at Blu-ray.com.