Two for the Money

October 7th, 2005


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After suffering a career-ending injury, a former college football star aligns himself with one of the most renowned touts in the sports-gambling business.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 6.1/10 (22,322 voted)

Critic's Score: 50/100

Director: D.J. Caruso

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Al Pacino, Rene Russo

Brandon Lang loves football: an injury keeps him from the pros, but his quarterback's anticipation makes him a brilliant predictor of games' outcomes. Needing money, he leaves Vegas for Manhattan to work for Walter Abrams advising gamblers. Walter has a doting wife, a young daughter, and a thriving business, but he has problems: a bum heart, a belief he's a master manipulator, and addictions barely kept in check. He remakes Brandon, and a father-son relationship grows. Then, things go awry. Walter may be running a con. The odds against Brandon mount.

Al Pacino - Walter
Matthew McConaughey - Brandon
Rene Russo - Toni
Armand Assante - Novian
Jeremy Piven - Jerry
Jaime King - Alexandria
Kevin Chapman - Southie
Ralph Garman - Reggie
Gedde Watanabe - Milton
Carly Pope - Tammy
Charles Carroll - Chuck
Gerard Plunkett - Herbie (as Gerrard Plunkett)
Craig Veroni - Amir
James Kirk - Denny
Chrislyn Austin - Julia


Official Website: Official site [Russia] | Universal [United States] |

Release Date: 7 October 2005

Filming Locations: 55th Street & 5th Avenue, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $8,703,240 (USA) (9 October 2005) (2391 Screens)

Gross: $22,862,049 (USA) (13 November 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Rene Russo's husband, Dan Gilroy, wrote the part of Al Pacino's wife Toni especially for Russo and tailored it to fit her perfectly. He even used Russo's real-life sister's name Toni as the name of the character.

Continuity: Brandon's wine glass at the steakhouse is nearly empty during the three shot, then one quarter full during his close-up.

Walter Abrams: Know what you know, and know what you don't know. And know that I gotta know everything you know as soon as you know it... or sooner

User Review

The odds

Rating: 7/10

There is a scene at the beginning of the film that seems to set the tone of "Two for the Money". We watch as Walter Abrams is talking on the phone with someone who will not be able to provide an elephant for his daughter's birthday party. Walter barks to his assistant, "Get me Ringling". When the call finally comes through, he demands to know whether he is talking to Barnum or Bailey, which is a funny line. Wasn't P.T. Barnum himself the man famous for that quotation about a sucker being born every minute?

Walter Abrams is a man who is in the sports betting business. He and his associates stand to make millions out of the jerks they pursue to do their betting with his firm. Having found a new rising star, Brandon Lang, a man that knows a lot about the intricacies of point spreads and picking winners. Walter wants to transforms him into a man who can bring more money into his outfit.

In order to do that, Walter must groom him to "look" the part. As such, Brandon becomes John Anthony, the man who can produce fabulous results every week end during the football series. Brandon gets to meet the insiders, but little does he know who he is dealing with, or much less, what is expected of him. After all, he is just as good as the winners he can produce.

The film, directed by D. J. Caruso, a man who has worked extensively in television, has a glossy look. The screen play by Dan Gilroy could have used some tighter editing, because at two hours it feels a bit long.

Al Pacino, as Walter, has some good moments; we have seen him in better roles, and this one is a composite of other things he has done before. Mr. Pacino compensates when the screen play is not going anywhere by applying an intensity that doesn't go well with the others playing opposite him. Matthew McConaughey is a light weight actor who, aside from his good looks, doesn't bring anything to this story. Rene Russo is obviously a tall woman who towers over Mr. Pacino in most of their scenes together. Their relationship doesn't come across as being a real thing. Jeremy Piven and Armand Assante make good contributions in supporting the principals.

While "Two for the Money" is by no means a horrible film, it just doesn't have anything new to say.