‘The Cooler’ cheats gamblers, audience


William H. Macy stars in “The Cooler” as lovable loser Bernie Lootz, a man who can’t catch a break in life or love. His luck first turns sour when he runs up a huge gambling debt at the Golden Shangri-La Casino. The owner of the casino, Shelly (Alec Baldwin), commits Bernie to a life sentence of bringing bad luck to gamblers.

Limping around the casino floor (the result of a busted kneecap from Shelly) all Bernie has to do is be near a lucky table or slot machine and the house wins. This talent earned Bernie the nickname, “the cooler.”

Bernie takes no pride in his ability to bring others bad luck, and he decides it’s time to get away. A cocktail waitress, Natalie (Maria Bello), falls for Bernie and suddenly his fortune changes.

Everyone’s a winner, except, of course, for casino owner Shelly.

While the movie might sound entertaining on paper, it was surprisingly disappointing.

The movie did cover a range of emotions – sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes just plain disturbing.

The plot was so predictable it was easy to figure out how it ended. The secondary storyline involving Bernie’s long lost son was clich