Well, it’s official. I’m a Paramount Plus subscriber now.
How did that happen? This freaking movie.
Let’s discuss, 3.5 readers.
I love Bryan Cranston and have been binging Breaking Bad as of late. Somehow, the internet oompa loompas who feed tailored ads to my computer must know this because they have been peppering me with ads for this film. Frankly, the best description of it is if the Hallmark Channel made a sweet, charming version of Breaking Bad that old ladies can enjoy, but still has enough humor for everyone else too.
Based on a true story, retired cereal factory worker Jerry Selbee has had a lifelong gift for number crunching that no one has ever appreciated. Adjusting to retired life, he feels useless and unproductive until he finds a flaw in a lotto game. After performing some calculations (and trust me, the film tries to explain it but you might be mentally better off if you just nod and politely agree that the math works and means the things that the characters say it means) Jerry figures out a way to game the system.
Alas, when his home state of Michigan discontinues his favorite lotto game, he and wife Marge (Anette Bening) spice up their stale marriage by making monthly trips to the Bay State, purchasing tens of thousands of lotto tickets at a time, to the point where they become BFFs with rural MA convenience store owner Bill (Rainn Wilson.)
Ahh, but the Selbees are altruists at heart. Noticing that their little town of Evart is down in the dumps of an economic downturn, they convince their friends and neighbors to pool their resources, creating a corporation that does nothing but buy lotto tickets, pays taxes on the winnings and distributes profits amongst the shareholding townsfolk. In the process, the newly rich Evartians are able to invest boku buckaroos in their fair burg, opening up shops and fixing up locations that had been rotting away unused.
Steve (Larry Wilmore) serves as the Selbees’ co-conspirating accountant, the joke being that no one else in town prior to the lotto wins had much money so he had to take on a second job because no one in town had any money to account for.
Naturally, any decent film needs a point of contention right? That’s where a group of smarmy Harvard students come in. These whiz kids have also figured out how to game the lotto. The Michigan townsfolk and Cambridge brainiacs butt heads, for if one side drops out, then that increases the winnings for the other and all’s fair in love, war, and playing the lotto, right?
STATUS: Shelf-worthy, though this is the oldest I’ve seen Bryan Cranston. He plays a grandfather here, an old who is having a hard time adjusting to the so-called golden years. I’m not knocking old age it’s just it seems like yesterday Bryan was cooking meth with Jesse as Walt and now he’s playing grandpas who have to wrestle snacks away from their grandkids to prevent them from finding out said snacks are a secret cash stash.
Hey, it convinced me to sign up for Paramount Plus and I felt it was worth it after seeing it, so if that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. Chalk up another role for Cranston as a older person looking back on life, feeling like they missed out by not taking this or that shot, and finding some unique way to make big bucks before time runs out. At least Jerry did something legal here. Walt? Not so much.