Casino Jack

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Casino Jack Movie Poster Image
Lots of foul language in funny, semi-true satire.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Though the movie is primarily about a terrible person, the movie is well aware of that fact, and his faults are always evident to viewers -- and he eventually gets his comeuppance for his extreme greed and perhaps even learns a lesson or two. That means the audience ultimately comes away with the message "do not try this at home."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even though he's funny and tries to do a few good turns during the story, Abramoff is unrelentingly backstabbing and greedy. He treats others with contempt, swears profusely, and exhibits destructive behavior. The only good thing is that he's eventually caught and punished, thought it remains to be seen whether he's learned his lesson.

Violence

A character is stabbed with a pen, and viewers see some blood. Also lots of shouting and arguing.

Sex

A secondary character is seen with two naked women in his room, with naked breasts on view. Another main character cheats on his girlfriend and sleeps around. Viewers also see dancing girls in a casino, though they mostly wear skimpy costumes.

Language

Dozens of uses of "f--k" throughout the film. Other words used less frequently include "s--t," "goddamn," "ass," "hell," "whore," "schmuck," and "bastard." Characters also use racial slurs from time to time, especially to describe Native Americans.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this humorous biopic about convicted fraudster/"superlobbyist" Jack Abramoff ( Kevin Spacey) is rife with foul language, including the pervasive use of "f--k." There's one brief scene of violence -- a stabbing, with blood -- and some nudity (breasts); some secondary characters also sleep with multiple women. Jack is an entertaining character, but the movie isn't celebrating his bad behavior: He's very much presented as a bad guy. Note: A similarly titled documentary about Abramoff -- Casino Jack and the United States of Money -- was released earlier in 2010.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 year old Written byJaismin March 6, 2013

DBG Poker

I’ve been involved in a lot of poker play in the past few years and I though I’d tell everyone with a passing interest in poker. At face value they are not the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 16, 2011

i rate this title ON for ages 14+

What to watch out for * Messages: Though the movie is primarily about a terrible person, the movie is well aware of that fact, and his faults a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Jack Abramoff (Kevin Spacey) is a "superlobbyist" in Washington D.C. who has connections and influences all over town. As CASINO JACK begins, he's conning Native American tribes out of millions of dollars in exchange for his services. He and his partner, Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper), also become involved with a small-time, mafia-connected hood (Jon Lovitz) and some floating casinos. Abramoff brags about using these profits to open restaurants and schools, but he always seems to be running low on cash -- and always looking for the next scam. Eventually, Abramoff and Scanlon go too far, and their high-priced world begins to tumble down around them.

Is it any good?

The biggest asset in Casino Jack is Spacey, who plays Abramoff as the cynical, snappy type of character he made so memorable in American Beauty. Spacey is clearly enjoying every manic moment here (throwing in the occasional celebrity impression to boot), and the screenplay by Norman Snider does a nice job of feeding his frenzy. There isn't much room for others in this kind of one-man show, but Lovitz gets in some nice moments as the sleazy, small-time hood.

Director George Hickenlooper -- who passed away in October of 2010 -- can't quite fine-tune the movie into the tight comedy it should have been; it's a little uneven in places and a little wobbly in others. But to its credit, the movie gambles on a really nasty lead character and doesn't bother trying to make him "likeable." The movie knows that Abramoff is a terrible person and allows the audience to know that, too. The trick is that Jack doesn't know it. Overall, it's an interesting, funny, and irreverent portrait of our troubled times.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Abramoff is a likeable character. Is he a good or a bad person? Does that affect how likeable he is?

  • Why might we be interested in watching characters like Abramoff? How does he justify his behavior to himself? Did you want to see him punished -- or get away scot free?

  • Why do you think that characters with lots of money are often prone to iffy behavior like strong language, multiple sex partners, and even violence? Is that realistic?

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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