Sports buffs will enjoy this real-life cautionary tale about the perils of professional basketball not on the court, but in the betting parlor.
1994: Instead of listening to his mama and matriculating at a Brooklyn college, nice Jewish boy Bennie Silman (David Krumholtz) allows himself to be mesmerized by the sun-tanned coeds of Arizona State, and turns to his hobby gambling to make some quick cash. Campus smooth operator Troy (James LeGros) shows him the ropes of making book, and Bennie goes solo. After all, what's the harm in putting his friendship with the school's basketball star, Steven Hedake Smith (Tory Kittles), to mutually beneficial use? Especially since Hedake is a master at point shaving! Unfortunately, Bennie's success story merits unwanted outside attention. Nick (Jeremy Luke) hooks Bennie up with his brother, Joe Jr. (Nicholas Turturro), a professional better; Joe Jr. in turn introduces Bennie to some major mobsters. Before long, Bennie is skimping on pay-outs to Hedake and neglecting his shiksa girlfriend, Callie (Jennifer Morrison.) Juggling college life with the demands of an illegal business wears him down, and just when Benny has everything worked out with the Mafia, local thug Big Red (Keith Loneker) muscles in on his action. Benny has to satisfy both Big Red and the mobsters without either finding out about each other, and the increasingly temperamental Hedake gets himself tossed out of a crucial game that Bennie's high rollers expected him to fix. The unanticipated game result draws the attention of the FBI, and as Benny's assorted crime partners pass the buck and cut deals, Bennie regrets living the high life. With his boyish appearance, Krumholtz energizes this anti-gambling saga and even pulls off some difficult sequences in which he addresses the camera directly. But in the end, the film doesn't win much sympathy for its thrill-junkie protagonist; it concludes with a public service announcement by the real Benny Silman, who, like Krumholtz, has charisma to burn.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: Sports buffs will enjoy this real-life cautionary tale about the perils of professional basketball not on the court, but in the betting parlor. 1994: Instead of listening to his mama and matriculating at a Brooklyn college, nice Jewish boy Bennie… (more)