Movie Review: WIN WIN

WIN WIN is an heartfelt and very funny comedy-drama starring the brilliant character actor Paul Giamatti as a stressed out husband and father who makes a big ethical mistake even as he's trying to live a good life.
It's the kind of satisfying, independent film that's worth going out of your way to see--it's playing only at Kahala Mall.
 Giamatti is Mike Flaherty, a lawyer and volunteer high school wrestling coach who can't pay his bills but doesn't want his wife to know.

 So, for 1500 dollars a month, he becomes the court appointed legal guardian of an elderly man in the early stages of dementia, but instead of taking care of the old fellow, Mike puts him into a retirement home.

It's an unethical move for this otherwise caring man, and it leads to surprising consequences: like the old guy's grandson, Kyle, showing up, hoping to live with his grandfather.

Instead the boy winds up staying with Mike and his wife Jackie played by Amy Ryan.
It's not what Mike had in mind, but as luck would have it, Kyle just happens to be a better wrestler than anyone currently on Mike's team. (The boy who plays Kyle IS a wrestler. This is his first experience as an actor.)

 Things are going pretty well for Mike until Kyle's drug addicted mother gets out of rehab and demands to take her son home.

 "Win Win" almost turns "lose lose" for our hapless hero, but Mike's basic decency is never in doubt, and it's entertaining to watch him try to remedy a dicey situation he created himself.
WIN WIN was co-written and directed by Tom McCarthy whose track record is good: THE VISITOR and THE STATION AGENT. Like those movies this one has a smart script.

Watching good actors deal with the struggles of characters who seem like real people is a treat movie lovers shouldn't pass up.