Gerry and Curtis (Mendelsohn and Reynolds) meet by chance and bond quickly over their shared love of gambling. Gerry is the older of the two, and looks it. Deep in debt, he’s already lost his family to his gambling addiction. Meanwhile Curtis is a handsome man-child who’s more controlled, but still unable to commit or settle down. Gerry views his new pal as his good luck charm, and the two go on a road trip, with plenty of bets placed along the way. Will they come out winners?
With more than a nod to Robert Altman’s “California Split” from 1974, filmmakers Fleck and Boden (“Half Nelson”) update and improve on that film’s colorful tale of two men whose friendship is forged on a shared compulsion to bet, and bet big. This film is darker in tone, with Mendelsohn unforgettable as a man who’s truly lost his soul. The indelible scene where Gerry goes back to visit his estranged wife (Weigert) is worth the price of admission on its own. Reynolds also displays some impressive acting chops, as does Miller playing Simone, his escort girlfriend. In cinematic terms, the underrated “Grind” is definitely a winning hand.