Win Win

Sometimes sexy is hard to define. You’ve got your really obvious gorgeous leading men – George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Mark Wahlberg – most people would agree that physically, these people have profiles that would not be out-of-place on a commemorative coin. Put Marky Mark’s abs on that train wreck that was Susan B. Anthony’s dollar, and people will carry that sucker around in their pockets just so they can rub their fingers over the ridges. Think how happy it would make blind people!

But beauty fades (although I haven’t noticed any signs of that yet in George Clooney) and sometimes you have to go a little deeper. So I was delighted to come across a gentle movie starring the thinking girl’s sex symbol, that sexy beast known as Paul Giamatti. Sure, he looks a little like a garden gnome and you get the feeling that he sighs a lot, but in the new comedy, Win Win, he is as loyal and upstanding as a man can be. And that can be pretty sexy – until he makes just a tiny little ethical slip that sets off a chain reaction that fuels the rest of the story.

You care so much about his character, Mike, and how desperately he’s trying to take care of his family, that you don’t want to believe that he’s done something that is just this side of legal. It’s what sets this realistic but very funny comedy apart from others, knowing that the consequences are going to catch up with him sooner rather than later.

The plot revolves around Mike’s attempt to save his failing law firm and his stint as a high school wrestling coach. Now if you’re like me, you saw the word “wrestling” and immediately had flashbacks of trying to pin down the contents of your stomach in another film that featured this sport. Fear not – this one is as steady as its main character, not a shaky, disintegrating Micky Rourke-type anywhere in sight.

I pretty much hate wrestling. It’s a guy thing I’ve never quite understood, although watching Oliver Reed and Alan Bates do it naked in Women in Love kind of made me understand why a little better. Naked works because then you don’t have to focus on the stretchy outfits or goofy headgear that is second in stupidity only to the sweetly-tied bonnets of water polo players. (That’s not the only reason naked works, but we’ll leave that until I can get to the review for Love and Other Drugs.)

Although the wrestling is integral to the plot, it’s not the focus of the story. Anyone who has watched their paycheck diminish as their expenses mount will be able to empathize with the struggle that Mike goes through, and wonder about where their own bar of acceptance is set and what it would take to push it over the edge. People face temptations everyday, and I think this film will resonate. And now I have to go back to the theater where I snuck into this movie after I saw Jane Eyre and give them eleven dollars.

Barf Bag Rating: ZERO BAGS You won’t even think about your gut because you will be so delighted by the awesome Jon Bon Jovi references.

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