Casino Jack

Rated 2.0

With his usual velvety snideness, Kevin Spacey coasts right through this unnecessary and resoundingly lousy biography of fraudmongering political lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The movie suffers not just from having been beaten to the punch by Alex Gibney’s documentary on same, but also by the sleazy tedium of the sad true story from which both films derive. This one, from screenwriter Norman Snider and the late director George Hickenlooper, just isn’t genuinely angry or vicious enough. Instead, it’s all just a billow of benign, expensive smarm. “Washington is Hollywood with ugly people,” Spacey’s Abramoff reminds us, somewhere between the opening pep-talk-to-self in a men’s room mirror and the Senate-hearing dream sequence; the rest is a whirlwind of manic, petty, greed-fueled hubris, abetted by Barry Pepper, Jon Lovitz and Kelly Preston, all appropriate in their roles yet somehow wasted.