Movie Review: Win Win

I know this movie is a tad old but it was not a box office hit. So I am assuming that most of you have not seen it. Well, unless you went to the Sundance festival. Even if you did see it, I would appreciate if you read on. Okay, I am done sounding needy now.

Release Date: March 18, 2011 (Limited)

DVD: August 23, 2011

The DVD cover and movie poster makes you think it this is your everyday sports film. Oh, I already know how this one is going to end. But this movie focuses on far more than the love of wrestling. I am not speaking on John Cena wrestling. I am speaking on gold medalist Kurt Angle wrestling. The movie could have turned out cliché and simply focused on wrestling. Will the wrestling team win the national championship? Who will win? Who will lose? It is deeper than that. Win Win stars Paul Giammai who plays Mike Flaherty. He is a lawyer by day and a volunteer high school wrestling coach by evening. Mike’s personal finances are struggling and he is keeping this information to himself and away from his wife. His life takes a quick turn for the better when he becomes the guardian for one of his clients. It pays $1500 a month. His client, Leo, suffers from dementia and he puts him into a retirement home. But Leo just wanted to live at home. Mike ends up unexpectedly also taking care of Leo’s grandson, Kyle, also.

Win Win is a comedy that could be acceptable by many age groups and it is not animated. You know like Despicable Me? The laughs in Win Win just come off authentic. The jokes are not long drawn out jokes and they show the chemistry between the actors. Terry, Mike’s best friend, and Vigman, the wrestling assistant coach, are the comic relief the audience needed. The plot twist does not crave for the audience’s emotion. This is not your Tyler Perry movie, folks. The director Tom McCarthy highlights more on the character development such as Kyle. The relationship between Mike and Kyle just shines through. This is with not much of the dialogue being expressed non-verbally.

Alex Shaffer, who plays Kyle, is a newcomer in this acting business. He becomes the audience’s favorite character quickly. He grabs the admiration of the characters around him to such as Terry played by Bobby Cannavale. The audience is still wondering if Kyle is a child who needs help or is he too damaged to repair. McCarthy develops great characters since he is an actor himself. Shaffer demands the spotlight like Sean Penn previously did in Fast Times At Ridgemont High back in the day. That is high praise but Shaffer deserves it.

The hook line and sinker that keeps you watching is when will the lies come to the light? The movie cannot end perfect with lies and deceit. We already saw that in Something Borrowed (If you haven’t, do not). But it does end suitably with a well-developed story.