Win It All is a compelling movie that showcases Jake Johnson’s acting range brilliantly. Although it’s essentially a comedy, it does feature some great dramatic moments throughout. The main character, Eddie Garrett, spends his evenings playing poker — and, sadly, losing. Even though it’s a modern movie, Eddie doesn’t play at online casinos, and uses the old-school method of finding poker games around town instead.
Jake Johnson Shines
Jake Johnson is excellent as Eddie. Anyone who’s seen New Girl will know just how good he is, and he brings some much-needed sympathy to the character. This is vital as, throughout the movie, you’ll find yourself rooting against Eddie.
He ignores the good advice offered by his friends, family and even GA sponsor, and continues to get himself into trouble. This could be why Johnson was chosen to play him, because without his natural charm, Eddie would definitely be the villain of this movie.
This makes it extremely hard to root for him, and the viewer ends up becoming more sympathetic towards the various people that he hurts instead. However, Johnson is so charming and such a likeable actor that it’s easy to connect with him at times, even when his behaviour is so questionable.
Doesn’t Break New Ground
The movie’s storyline is relatively easy to follow. Eddie Garrett is a habitual loser. Everything that he touches goes bad. This includes his poker playing. One night, a local criminal drops a bag off at his house and asks him to hold onto it until he gets out of prison. He tells him that as long as he doesn’t look in the bag, he will give him $10,000 when he gets out. Eddie agrees, and of course, looks in the bag. He finds piles of money in there, and as he’s a gambling addict, he uses some of it to wager with.
The movie takes him on a journey of highs and lows that are generally quite cliched. There’s nothing unexpected to be found in the film. That doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining, it’s just not quite as good as the previous Joe Swanberg and Jake Johnson collaboration, Drinking Buddies. But if you were a fan of Drinking Buddies, Win It All is definitely worth a watch.
There’s of course the obligatory romantic storyline that underpins everything, but Johnson plays it with such charm that it feels natural. It might be a familiar trope, but it’s not overbearing and doesn’t take away from the enjoyment the film offers.
The undoubted highlight of the movie is Keegan-Michael Key. He plays Eddie’s Gamblers Anonymous sponsor, Gene, and brings a lot of energy to the part. It also helps that he has the best lines of all the characters, but his delivery of those lines is excellent. You’ll find yourself looking forward to seeing Gene on screen more than Eddie.
Entertaining but not Spellbinding
On the whole, the movie has a lot going for it, yet there are just too many flaws for it to be heralded as a classic. The cast are all likable and play their parts well. The writing is sharp and funny, with some excellent lines that will have you laughing out loud in places. But, sadly, the story is a little too similar to so many other movies and generally cliched.
If you’ve seen one romantic comedy, it’s fair to say you’ve seen Win It All. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, not by any stretch, but it does mean that it’s nothing new or original.
If you’re a fan of Jake Johnson or want something to watch for a lazy evening in, Win It All is a great choice to watch. If you want something that has some depth or originality to it, maybe this isn’t the movie for you. It’s definitely an entertaining film, but it’s been done before many times in the past.