Ex-college football star Brandon Lang (McConaughey) is snapped out of his comeback pipedreams by wild-card sports betting mogul Walter Abrams (Pacino), who is eager to exploit to the full Brandon's near-supernatural abilities as a tipster.
Having proved his mettle with such shin-kicking TV fare as The Shield and Robbery Homicide Division, director D.J. Caruso brings an appropriately brimming bucket of testosterone to this mucho macho morality play set in the pressure-cooker world of high-stakes sports betting.
Two For The Money strains so hard to be the love child of Wall Street and Any Given Sunday, rectal prolapse seems imminent.
It has energy to burn as it barrels up the north face of its textbook story arc — Matt becomes the star of Al’s nefarious operation and grabs the big brass ring with both hands — but things go seriously off the skids the moment it crests the summit and plunges recklessly down the other side. Before you can say ‘mentor-protégé-surrogate-dad-dynamic’, Brandon (rechristened John Anthony by Walter because “Brandon lives at home with his mommy!”) hits a losing streak as disastrous as it is predictable, and the film careens across the border between mere silliness and outright ‘what-the?’ absurdity with a flash of its arse to the customs officer.
A tangle of loose ends flails away unchecked, subplots evaporate, and the denouement makes less sense than a bunch of blokes playing rugby in crash helmets and calling it football.
A preposterous, steroidal mess. Still, worth a look for another world-class display of scenery-chewing from Pacino, who refuses to let a little thing like an incoherent script stop him.