Parents' Guide to

Poker Face

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Overloaded drama/thriller has touching characters, language.

Movie NR 2022 95 minutes
Poker Face Movie: Poster

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While Crowe's drama consists of many disparate parts that don't always come together effectively, there's something about the characters' friendships that makes it compelling anyway. Crowe's second feature directing effort, following 2015's The Water Diviner, Poker Face indeed gets a bit busy in the middle as it tries to smash together all of its various components. Some of them -- such as the security software or the fact that (for some reason) Jake's lawyer Sam is also involved in the game -- could have been cut out completely with nothing lost. But while the movie lacks streamlining, its single location (a beautiful, extravagant compound) helps keep things on an even keel.

What works well in Poker Face is the sense that these friends actually have known each other their entire lives. The way they relate to each other has a kind of emotional shorthand that feels right. Crowe sets the tone with one of his more understated performances, caring but guarded, and the others clue into his efforts perfectly. (His scenes with Jake's teen daughter, played by Molly Grace, are touching, too.) Indeed, a better movie might have been made simply focusing on the men and their poker game. And, certainly, a movie about poker could have shown more of the game itself. But for all its flaws, there's enough good stuff in Crowe's movie to make it worth dealing in.

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