Win Win–Movie Review

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4 Stars
Win Win is a smart unconventional comedy-drama about a well-intentioned lawyer who gives into temptation.

At first glance Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) might seem to have an enviable life. He has a lovely family and he is respected in his small community. He even volunteers as the assistant coach of the high school wrestling team. But he feels a crushing sense of panic. His small law practice isn’t doing very well and he is desperate for a source of additional cash.

So he decides to bend the rules just a little. He has a wealthy elderly client (Burt Young) who is in the early stages of dementia, and whose only living relative, an estranged daughter, cannot be located. He gets himself appointed as the man’s guardian, promising to help him stay in his home. Then he checks the old guy into a nursing home and pockets the $1500 per month guardianship fee.

With a premise like that the movie can go in either of two ways: the depressing noir ending or the upbeat ending.

Things start to go wrong when the old man’s troubled young grandson (Alex Shaffer) shows up. But he’s not as bad as he looks and even turns out to have a talent for wrestling. So maybe we’re headed for a conventional upbeat sports movie ending.

But then the boy’s mother shows up and she’s real trouble.

This is a small, low-key movie but it’s well-written, well-acted and pretty entertaining.