We all know how the story goes; man starts gambling; man becomes a gambling addict; man loses everything eventually; man rebuilds his life. Yawn. Been there, done that. But with the Netflix original movie Win It All, the story takes a few plot devices and colors outside of the lines; and we like it.

Not So Typical

New Girl alumni Jake Johnson takes on a role that goes beyond the character that earned him a Teen Choice Award nomination and moves into something grittier. Johnson plays the typical gambler who doesn’t give a fig about risking it all, except he really wants everyone to like him. And people do like him, which is what makes this a bit different from the typical gambling man movie. Where most portray the gambler as smooth, suave, and Sinatra, Win It All tells you right up front that Johnson’s character, Eddie Garrett, is as unsmooth as a 3-day shadow and he knows it.

Eddie is a man with an addiction and the story begins with that addiction being fed tenfold. A shady acquaintance offers Eddie a good chunk of change to watch his bag. Eddie agrees, wondering just what’s in this bag, but is told not to “worry about it” as his acquaintance heads off to prison. Trouble ensues when Eddie does worry about it and finds way more money than the chunk of change he was given.

That’s The Way It Goes – Or Is it?

What happens next? You can probably guess; he gambles it all away and hits rock bottom. But somehow the tables turn as lucky Eddie gets up from that bottom, finds a sponsor (played by the ever-entertaining Keegan Michael Key) and starts a life legit. A real job and romance creep into the scene, and you find yourself hoping that it lasts, but you just know that nothing good can stay. And somehow, this is what makes the movie even more compelling.

The shady acquaintance gets out of prison early and Eddie has to think fast to try to win his money back or end up swimming with the fishes. Once again, Eddie will need to revisit his past and the real question becomes, how does one react when rock bottom comes knocking once again? Johnson not only answers the question, he makes it engaging. Put your chips on Win It All and you’ll be cashing out a winner.

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