Win Win ought to be an entirely forgettable film experience, given that its comedic ideas have been sitcom chum for generations on end. For example, Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is rotund, balding, hiding financial pressures from his wife, and hanging out with men who still have difficulties in letting their youthful days go. In a moment of desperation, he does something stupid, the situation inevitably becomes complicated, and he ends up being forced to confront his shortcomings. I ruin nothing in revealing this. The way this film is going to work out is only short an explanatory title card at the start. Fortunately, though, unbridled creativity is not the reason one goes to see a Thomas McCarthy offering. Instead, he tends to provide us with agreeable reminders that despite being as pathetic, flawed, and lazy as we know ourselves to be, with even just a little more effort and social awareness, the good that we can then do could be exponentially greater.
Here, Mike and his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) end up taking in listless youth Kyle (Alex Shaffer), who comes replete with bad tats and an even worse dye-job. As attempts to re-unite him with his mother in Ohio prove problematic, Mike’s eagerness to see his temporary charge on the bus back home is softened, though, when Kyle turns out to be an exceptional addition to the school wrestling team that Mike coaches. However, there are enough flies in the ointment here to keep pest control busy for a month, so things are soon buzzing off course for our good-natured hero with a guilty secret or two. (more…)