Cooler, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Bernie Lootz (William Macy) is a born loser, a guy so unlucky that his presence makes others around him lose. Bernie works as a cooler, someone called in to cool down the winning streaks of gamblers at the Shangri-La Casino. He is doing this to pay off an old gambling debt to the casino manager, Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin). It will be paid off in just seven days, and Bernie cant wait to leave Las Vegas forever. But Shelly is working hard to keep Bernie, his most valuable asset, in the casino. When Bernie meets and falls in love with a casino cocktail waitress, Natalie (Maria Bello), his luck turns and people everywhere begin winning money. This change also uncovers Bernies estranged son and unborn grandchild. In a series of plot tangles, the people in Bernies life challenge his ability to escape sin city and start a new, wholesome life elsewhere.

The interesting plot concept is quickly overshadowed by graphic portrayals of the ugly life in Vegas: gambling, crime, violence and promiscuity. On a positive note, the story does make a statement on the value of taking a gamble, whether it be for money or love. And it shows that sin leads to destruction and that the only people who survive are those who get out of town. But much like its main character, Bernie, this movie is generally a loser. It is filled with objectionable material. The positive lessons, great performances and three moments of true humor do not make up for the constant, exhausting flow of sex, brutality, language and drugs. The sex scenes, though not glamorizing, are extremely explicit. The crowd reaction in the theater proved that several scenes were cheaply placed for shock value and that the movie probably deserved an NC-17 rating. This movie may do well opening day from all of the media exposure, but it probably wont last once word spreads.

Preview Reviewer: Edith Martin
Lions Gate Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (18) times mild (hell 2, damn 2); moderate (tits 1, schmuck 2, bastard 1); strong (ass 5, bitch 2, whore 3)

Obscene Language: Many (120+) times mild (pee 2); moderate (crap 1, suck 1); strong (f-word 85+, s-word 26, prick 1, other 6)

Profanity: Many (25) times moderate (OMG 6, OG 4, G-sake 1, G 3); strong (GD 2, J 4, JC 5)

Violence: Many times mild (man discusses how his boss maimed his leg with a baseball bat, man seen with blood on hands, two men drag resisting woman into hotel room and throw her on floor, man threatens in detail how he will kill man and woman); moderate (man suggests his deliberate killing of a drug user was a humanitarian act, fist fight with threat to kill another man, fist fights with graphic injuries, man violently destroys property, sound of man shot in head, man shown on top of car after hit by a drunk driver); strong (gratuitous violence during different fight scenes, complete with screaming and graphic injury sounds men beat up young man, men break mans legs with metal pipe, man kicks pregnant woman in stomach and throws her on ground, man slaps woman so hard that she crashes into mirror and has bloody facial injuries)

Sex: Many times mild (man reaches down womans shirt without her consent, woman fumbles for mans zipper, couple lying in bed before and after sex; moderate (man sits in bed while prostitute next door makes graphic sounds of intercourse and violently rattles the walls of his hotel room, unconventional sex implied by both man and woman, woman shown reaching orgasm through unconventional sex, male facial expression implies orgasm); strong (graphic motions and sounds of sexual intercourse with nudity in two scenes)

Nudity: Many mild (woman undresses to show lingerie beneath); moderate (uncovered female buttocks 2, uncovered male buttocks 1, completely uncovered female breasts 3); strong (partially covered male genitals, partially covered female genitals, completely uncovered female genitals)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times mild (prostitute is asked for clean bill of health to work the casino, womans underwear hanging on door referred to by men as a perk of the business, man asked if hed like to birdie that hole in reference to a prostitute, crude discussion of how a mans singing sexually arouses women in the audience, woman invites herself to mans hotel room, man suggests the manager should not hire women with less than a C-cup, men refer to mans sexual encounter as popped her cherries); moderate (man with balloon treats it like genitalia, son propositions fathers girlfriend, son suggests the girlfriend is for hire and asks for family discount, man puts money down womans shirt 2); strong (Las Vegas compared to a woman being cheapened by prostitution in graphic description)

Drugs: Many mild (almost all characters shown smoking or drinking throughout most scenes, son refers to his mother as getting by as long as shes high); moderate (heroin used as a form of payment to a singer, woman shown smoking while pregnant, man drinks to escape problems); strong (pregnant woman shown with cocaine powder on nose, man injects himself with heroin, man lies dead from overdose with tracking shown on veins in arm)

Other: Boss offers to hire a prostitute anytime for his employee, faith healers shown on television in unfavorable manner, horoscope and charts portrayed as fact rather than fiction, frequent discussion of compatibility based on star charts, tattoo on womans buttocks, man discusses his previous occupation scamming the elderly out of their retirement, also mentions he was a felon, man admits his gambling addiction was bad for him, man meets up with estranged son and wants to start relationship, son and his pregnant girlfriend later misuse this kindness to take him for $3,000, ethnic slur against Latino population, good luck and bad luck portrayed as real, lady luck in the form of human woman portrayed as real, woman expresses regret for putting illegitimate child up for adoption and admits it was an act of selfishness, son lies to father to gain money, father opts to protect son at great expense, man makes good on his financial debt twice, lead female character originally hired for prostitution to male lead character, man sticks by and helps woman after she admits her shady past, man vomits from nervous tension, assassin dressed as a police officer

Running Time: 101 minutes.
Intended Audience: Adults

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