Warning: This DVD does not come out this week and makes its home market debut on the 24th. However, the DVD screener arrived early and I was able to get the review done this week.
Taking Chances - Buy from Amazon
Justin Long stars as Chase Revere, a historian obsessed with the small town of Patriotville. The town is rapidly running out of money and unless something is done fast, they might have to declare bankruptcy. However, the mayor, Cleveland Fishback, has an idea: convince a local Indian tribe to build a casino in their town. Chase has a different idea: develop a market for historical tourism. He starts a one-man crusade (well, one man and one woman crusade) to stop the development of the casino, which puts him at odds with everyone else in town.
The only people who don't hate him are his best friend, his new girlfriend, and the Indian tribe he is fighting to stop.
But will he be able to stop the tide of progress, or will the civic corruption be too much for him?
This film is typical of indie comedies in that it relies heavily on quirky characters and strange situations and less on a solid story as the basis of the film's humor. It's not a bad movie, and there are some good performances from much of the cast, but they are not given much to work with. The central conflict doesn't seem to have much to it. The casino is to be built upon the historic battlefield that is the town's only real claim to fame up to this point. But why? We are told early on that they just lost one of their main employers after the meat packing plant shut down. There must be a lot of unused land as a result of that. Also, Chase wants to stop the Casino from being built, but he is doing this by trying to hold a vote. If everyone in the town is against him, why doesn't the mayor just hold a vote? That would seem like the easiest solution.
On a side note, Rob Corddry kept swearing in the movie, sort of. He used the term, "Effing" a lot. And I don't mean he was dropping the F-Bomb; he would only say the letter F. It struck me as terribly odd. I don't know a lot of people in real life that do that. In fact, I don't think I've every heard "Effing" used as an explanative in real life. (I've heard people say it as a way to censure themselves when quoting someone else.) It made it feel less real. It was a strange quirk that made the movie feel like a movie.
One last note on the cast, there are quite a number of familiar faces in this movie, including the ones I've linked to already. But there's also Missi Pyle, who plays the mayor's wife; Robert Beltran, who plays one of the Indian tribe leaders; and Vicky Eng, who plays one of the business leaders of the town. I know what you are thinking. "Who?" She plays Vicky Wong, a.k.a. "W" on Good Eats. I recognized her immediately, but she's not even linked to the movie on IMDb.
I only have a DVD-R screener and not the full retail product, so I can't say what extras are on the DVD, if any. If the final product does arrive, I will update this review.
Taking Chances is an indie comedy with a stronger than average cast, but only an average story. It is worth checking out for fans of the genre, but without word on extras on the DVD, stick with a rental.