Deal Movie Review

Poker-themed movies are -- finally -- hitting the sunset of their lives. When Burt Reynolds gets in on the game, you know the jig is just about up.

Reynolds actually acquits himself amicably in Deal, a harmless but unmemorable little movie about playin' cards: The young buck, the grizzled mentor, and the prostitute... they're all here. Reynolds is Tommy Vinson, the vet who hasn't played poker in 20 years but was a mastermind of the game back in the day. (Hard times, bad string of luck... you know how it goes.) Vinson spots genius Alex (Bret Harrison) on a televised poker tournament and, just like that, figures he can take the talented but undisciplined little puke and teach him a thing or two. Namely, Vinson's secret is all about spotting tells in other players, which he can miraculously do in a matter of seconds and from across the room -- nay, from outside the room, really. Why anyone would let Vinson hang around to spy on them remains one of the film's biggest mysteries.

Like that, Alex and Vinson strike a deal (Vinson gets half of Alex's winnings -- gulp!), and they start bringing home the cash. But with money (and the occasional prostitute) comes friction, and eventually the two part ways. If you don't know who'll be facing off against each other in the final game of the movie, well, you haven't seen many films involving competition of any sort.

Any sense of conflict in Deal feels so manufactured and spare that it really ends up imbuing the film with nothing but a tepid, lukewarm spirit. It just doesn't resonate with the high-stakes gambling world setting. In fact, the biggest fight in the film is between Vinson and his wife, who has extracted (of course) a promise from Vinson that He'll Never Play Poker Again. Groan...

Deal is ultimately so gossamer thin that it's hard to feel strongly about it one way or the other. There's not a single unexpected plot point or even a line of dialogue in the movie -- the closest it gets is when Vinson plays some of his cards at the final table without looking at them -- but it's wholly competent in its production values and kind of quaint in an old-fashioned way in its dedication to A-B-C, by-the-book storytelling. Hell, it's rated PG-13, and that's probably just for the gambling. Replace the poker with UNO and the hooker with a maid and you've got a nice little family movie here.

Hey, I brought the tape!

Cast & Crew

Director : Gil Cates Jr.

Producer : Michael Arata, , Albert J. Salzer, Marc Weinstock

Starring : , , , Maria Mason, , Caroline McKinley,


Deal Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, 2008


More Burt Reynolds

Stuntman And Director Hal Needham Passes Away, Aged 82

Hollywood stunt legend-turned-moviemaker Hal Needham has passed away, aged 82. The long-time stand in for Burt Reynold, who went on to gain his directorial debut...

Ben Affleck Is Guy’S Choice Awards’ ‘Guy Of The Year’

Ben Affleck was awarded with the Spike’s Tv ‘Guy of the Year Award’ on Saturday (aired last night). The ceremony took place in Culver City,...

Burt Reynolds Health Improves Over Weekend After Flu Scare

It looked like there might be worrying news concerning veteran actor Burt Reynolds as the weekend began, with the 76 year-old admitted to hospital after...


Burt Reynolds Ready To Leave ICU After Flu Scare

On Friday this week (Jan 25) Burt Reynolds was admitted to a Florida hospital after his existing flu symptoms began to worsen and his friends...

Burt Reynolds On The Road To Recovery After Flu Scare

Good news! After a night in the intensive care unit of his local hospital it looks as though Burt Reynolds has pulled through and will...

Burt Reynold Receiving Treatment At Florida Hospital After Bout With Flu

Burt Reynolds was admitted into hospital yesterday (Jan 25), after his existing flu symptoms became increasingly and dramatically worse, warranting medical attention to be sought...

Burt Reynolds Rushed To Intensive Care After Catching Flu

Burt Reynolds is currently receiving treatment in the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital after coming down with a serious case of the flu,...