Nobody plays a loser like William H. Macy and his character’s contagious bad luck finds him employed at a Las Vegas casino where he puts the breaks of the winning streaks of gamblers in order to repay a huge debt to the casino’s owner (Alec Baldwin). But in the final days of repaying his debt, Bernie (Macy) discovers true love with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello) and loses his neutralizing affect on other gamblers. An explicit sex scene between Bello and Macy was cut from the film to avoid an NC-17 rating and it’s too bad because the scene gave the relationship a palpable weight and tension. Nevertheless, “The Cooler” is a complex ‘small’ movie that packs a big punch.
Rated R. 103 mins. (B) (Three Stars)