The Cooler

Rated 4.0 William H. Macy plays a luckless sad sack who works as a “cooler” in a Las Vegas casino, sidling up to hot players at the tables and short-circuiting their winning streaks. And when the love of a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello) promises to turn his luck around, his gangster boss (Alec Baldwin) decides to put a stop to it. Is it possible such superstitions really hold sway in Las Vegas? No matter; the script by Frank Hannah and director Wayne Kramer gives the premise a ring of truth. The film is a profane, hard-boiled fairy tale sparked by fine performances and Kramer’s pitch-perfect evocation of the gritty, smoke-stained, half-awake atmosphere of Sin City. Macy and Bello are great together, and Baldwin is even better as their reptilian boss. Paul Sorvino has a nice two-scene cameo as a washed-up lounge singer.