Paul Giamatti is an interesting actor. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him – well, not the first time, because like so many actors I like, he had a small part in Saving Private Ryan before he became ‘known’.
I’ve seen him in many films since, and for the most part he’s nailed what ever role he’s been given. But every now and then, he’s in a role that leaves me scratching my head. Win Win lies somewhere in the uncomfortable middle ground between genius and what the hell.
In Win Win, Giamatti plays the role of Mike Flaherty, a struggling small time attorney and part time wrestling couch. His clients are disappearing and his team just can’t win. But then he thinks he’s found the perfect loophole to keep his business afloat – it’s a loophole that will see him put one of his clients in a home, whilst pocketing a retainer to ‘take care of him.’
But when things seem to be going well, the troubled grandson of his client recently moved into a home, comes calling, needing a place to stay. What can Mike do but put the young guy up, and try and keep the truth from him. If getting money form his grandfather wasn’t enough, Mike soon discovers that the boy is an amazing wrestler and when his mother comes calling has to come up with a plan to keep the boy who is giving his team a winning streak and a confidence boost, and keep his client locked away and out of sight.
On the surface it sounds like a riotous comedy that will have you rolling in the isles, but alas, even though it was marketed as a comedy, Win WIn is more of a moral tale played out through the language of drama.
As a drama with a hint of humour, Win Win is pretty good. Giamatti plays the weak, lost soul with ease, falling into one trap of his own making after another. The story may be convoluted and some of the characters could have been better thought out, but in the end it’s an interesting look at a man who has lost his way and has to turn his life around and embrace what’s really important.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read