The Grand

Movies Reviews William Maher
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The Grand

Release Date: ???
Director: William Maher
Writer: Zac Stanford
Cinematographer: ???
Starring: Charlize Theron, Nick Stahl, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Anna Sophia Robb
Studio/Run Time: Overture Films, 100 mins.

Spoo?ng the unsmiling, sunglasses-and-baseball-cap gravity of televised poker tournaments, The Grand does for competitive card leagues what Christopher Guest’s Best in Show did for The Westminster Kennel Club, and proves—again—that nothing’s more hilarious than folks who take themselves too seriously.

Zak Penn directs a team of crack improvisers, comprised of comedy veterans (David Cross, Cheryl Hines, Chris Parnell) and a few revelatory newcomers including acclaimed German director Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Rescue Dawn), who appears as The German, a poker ace with a penchant for weasels and white rabbits (Herzog and Penn ?rst worked together on 2004’s Incident at Loch Ness, a sea-creature mockumentary Penn directed and Herzog co-wrote and co-starred in). Each of the six players at the ?nal table has a fully realized backstory (Hines’ Lainie Schwartzman is married to an unemployed lightning-strike survivor, played with bumbling aplomb by Ray Romano; Kind’s Andy Andrews is an online shark with an aw-shucks alter ego), but the best scenes go down tableside, where, in true improv fashion, real poker was being dealt.