The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 7 - 14, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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Four Dogs Playing Poker

Four friends in their 20s team up under the direction of an older mentor (Tim Curry) to steal a precious statuette in Buenos Aires. So far, so good: this independent film, directed by Paul Rachman, looks handsome and starts brisk. But when the thieves return to New York to find that the statuette may have been lost en route, the movie goes south along with the caper. The Mr. Big they're beholden to (a strangely apologetic Forrest Whitaker) suspects a double cross, so he has the Curry character killed, and the four panicked survivors can think of no better plan to appease him than to take out $1 million life-insurance policies on themselves and choose, by secret lottery, one among them to be a victim and another a killer.

Thereafter the film is at best watchable on a level between pseudo-smart and mindless. For the implausible plot to go over, you'd have to believe that the prelapsarian friendship of the four, and thus also their moral decline, is of significance. Four Dogs Playing Poker loses that bet. Screens tonight at 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. and tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 and 4:15 p.m.

-- Chris Fujiwara

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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