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Film Review - Boiler Room
Boiler Room is a pretentious film that knows what it wants to be, but never achieves its goal. It really wants to be Rounders, with its New Yorkers swindling honest working people. Boiler Room fails to capture the feeling of authenticity that Rounders achieved. Rounders felt almost like a documentary; Boiler Room feels too contrived. It's a parody of what it wants to be.
The story revolves around Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi), a young man yearning for his father's approval. Dad doesn't approve that Seth has dropped out of school and is operating an illegal casino. Seth sees the casino as an example of success in running a business. But since Seth's father is a federal judge, Seth is clearly seen as the black sheep of the family. This is all that works in Boiler Room. A good father/son story is a very appealing sub-plot.
What really doesn't work is what we all paid our money to see. The "boiler room" itself where Seth and others swindle money from the unsuspecting just doesn't work. When the scene becomes dull, Ben Affleck runs in and recites a long piece of dialogue, which tends to be funny. Then Affleck runs out of the room (no doubt to phone his agent and bitch about this crappy film he's stuck in).
What Boiler Room needs is the genuine feeling of Rounders and perhaps the feel of Wall Street. Lacking these qualities, Boiler Room isn't worth your money.
Directed by Ben Younger
Released in 2000
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo