Tonally scattershot and more than a little heavy-footed. But then, so were the real cons from which Abramoff profited while the flimflam worked.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Mr. Hickenlooper's oddly apolitical caper film loses itself in the puzzle of its protagonist's personality.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Spacey's portrayal of Abramoff gets at the man's contradictions - his ostensibly devout Jewish faith next to an almost sociopathic blindness to his misdeeds - but it never even partly explains them.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
"Casino Jack" is glib, fast-paced entertainment that barely leaves a mark - which, given the subject, is just plain wrong.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
An improbably blithe cautionary tale, recounting the rise and fall of D.C. superlobbyist Jack Abramoff.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
Anyone who's seen Gibney's superior version will immediately be struck by how false this fictionalized account feels.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
Spacey has fun doing Abramoff doing Al Pacino, President Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone. But the typically strong Spacey isn't the only actor doing commanding work here.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
If being trapped in the dark with a pair of hopped-up con-artists... for an hour or so is your idea of fun times, then [this] might be the perfect unreality show for you.
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
Hickenlooper works in brief, vibrant scenes and happy sunshine -- the movie is meant to be a giddy entertainment more than a morality tale, though the giddiness is trailed by an appropriate tug of unease.
David Denby - New Yorker
It is Spacey's performance that contains most of the movie's mystery; although Abramoff's actions left little room for justification, in Spacey's performance, there is some.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Kevin Spacey contributes a wonderfully flamboyant performance as Abramoff.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Casino Jack is all over the place: exaggerated comedy, cartoonish high jinks, then heavy-handed melodrama...
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The film tries to encompass all of Abramoff's encyclopedic chicanery and chokes on the sheer volume.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
It's hard to work up a whole lot of love or sympathy for convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Compounding matters is an ungainly lead perf by Kevin Spacey, emphasizing superficial cynicism, and George Hickenlooper's direction, which lacks the bravura necessary to bring the most emblematic episode of recent Washington corruption fully to life.
Robert Koehler - Variety
Spacey has a field day as the hyper-energetic Abramoff, the former producer of the Dolph Lundgren epic "Red Scorpion" who observes that "Washington is Hollywood with ugly people."
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Casino Jack is really two movies: a convoluted tale about the exploits of disgraced Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, coupled with a zealous-if-misguided performance from Kevin Spacey in the title role.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
The film has a complicated political story to tell, and its erratically suspenseful narrative often detracts from its central interest - what makes Abramoff tick.
Kate Taylor - Globe and Mail
Spacey is the reason to see Casino Jack. This movie will stand alongside The Usual Suspects and American Beauty as examples of what the actor is capable of accomplishing when he is properly motivated.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Spacey's splendid in this brisk and engaging portrait of the disgraced Washington lobbyist.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Golden Globe nominee Kevin Spacey has a ball and then some playing the devil inside Jack Abramoff, the corrupt GOP lobbyist who ran wild during the W. years.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Though the film is peppered with one-liners tailor-made for Spacey to sling with stinging effect, it doesn't so much leave you laughing as just weary, and wishing this weren't a true story at all.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Casino Jack is a funny and enjoyable film with great performances.
Matt Joseph - We Got This Covered
too little too late
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Hickenlooper was a talented director with a clear, passionate love of movies. It's a shame his last one had to be this one.
Will Leitch - Deadspin
[Hickenlooper] tried to make sense of it all, and then conjured "a Hollywood ending." The trouble is, the Hollywood/D.C. hustler Jack Abramoff never actually provided one.
Roger Moore - Movie Nation
Hickenlooper's approach to the subject plus a great performance by Kevin Spacey make Casino Jack an enjoyable comedy and thought provoking social commentary.
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
Rather flat, but for Spacey's performance alone this is a fine examination of the U.S. political system and its inherent problems.
Laurence Boyce - The Baltic Times
spatalaei dynameis sto na ypertonizei th mwrothta olwn toys anti na thn afhnei na milaei apo monh ths
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Spacey and Hickenlooper take a sensitive, and possibly quite provocative subject and retell it in a way that is perhaps easier to reach for the not so politically inclined.
James Luxford - The National
...an odd and benighted film.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Excellent performances by Kevin Spacey and Barry Pepper in a movie that does measure up to its real-life story. And Jon Lovitz nearly steals the movie.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
"Casino Jack" works as a political film, it works as Shakespearian tragedy, and it works on the level of just plain Kevin Spacey goofiness.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
Hollywood is getting obsessed with the growing financial porn genre, where white-collar criminals get fluffed by accounting firms and the slow-motion perp walk is the new money shot. They're exploitative, best watched alone, and let's admit it...hot.
Mike Ward - Richmond.com
Setting aside the question of the wisdom of treating the material as comedy, the bigger problem is that Casino Jack simply isn't very funny.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
The depiction of Abramoff as a rogue and rascal who becomes the fall guy in an assembly of hypocrites seems to be a whitewash at best.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
What distinguishes Casino Jack, one version of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's story, is that it's often incomprehensible. That, we hasten to add, is not a good thing.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
There's a morality tale in here somewhere, but the director fell in love with his subject along the way and lost perspective.
Matt Kelemen - Las Vegas CityLife
Doesn't quite take its satire far enough.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
a darkly humorous, but uneven cautionary tale that takes too many easy potshots at Bush-era religious conservatives
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Spacey grabs attention and sets the tone for all the sarcastic skullduggery from the start, as he's hauled into jail and demands a private cell and a kosher diet. And zooms into his nonstop rant on auto-spin, between bible classes and golf with Bush.
Prairie Miller - WBAI Radio
Told largely in flashback, Norman Snider's screenplay zips between Abramoff's high-rolling past and his current situation, which will lead to a prison term for fraud and corruption.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
With any luck, this could have been something like "Charlie Wilson's War," but "Casino Jack" lacks the wit and elegance of that film.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The film's biggest fault is that it tackles the whole sordid affair like a comedy ... Yet given the real-life tragedies instigated by Abramoff and his Republican buddies like Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed and George W. Bush, I doubt many people will be laughing.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
... as a fact-based narrative it's a mess while as a character study it's shallow and unsatisfying. Even more fatally, as a comedy it's not particularly funny.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
Casino Jack moves with such manic determination it all but reaches out from the screen and shakes you by the collar: "See, movies about lobbyists can be fun!"
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
Hickenlooper and co-conspirator Kevin Spacey are more successful at entertaining than informing or enraging us, but such a tart souffle may be the best way for a fed-up public to digest this distasteful story.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The film is merely irreverent when it should be scathing.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
"Casino Jack" is more lurid than damning, more splashy than refined.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
Spacey, manic as he is, doesn't give us insight into Abramoff's personal contradictions.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
"Casino Jack" is a portrait of a player - a man always dancing, always spinning.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Spacey's bravura performance really sells the story.
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
Casino Jack fails at its most critical mission: Laying out in clear detail exactly how and when Abramoff broke the law.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
...Hickenlooper never opens up both barrels on Abramoff, leaving all character insight to the movie's star, Kevin Spacey. Bad idea.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Sometimes Casino Jack seems like a Keystone Lobbyist comedy; other times it's a slick character study. It's goofy and hit-or-miss.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
If you want to get the real skinny on Casino Jack and his amazing story, see the Alex Gibney documentary. If you just want to be entertained for a couple of hours, rent the movie.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The tone is too satirically smug, off much in the same way as "I Love You Phillip Morris," with Spacey doing everything but tap dancing to garner attention to a character he never makes more than skin deep.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Though it's a showcase for Spacey, Casino Jack is a shallow, confused account of the political game at its worst -- also known as business as usual.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Tackles the ultimate fall of Abramoff with an almost stunning lack of authenticity. Sees Jack the way Jack sees himself, not the way he actually is.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Conceptually reminiscent of what Robert Altman did to skewer Hollywood in "The Player," Hickenlooper adopts an anti-cleverly narrative by using a "cheesy" narrative to attack a cheese WIS/whiz-zzz-ed (on) America.
John Esther - UR Chicago Magazine
Entertaining, but needs more detail, background and storytelling.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
...it's time to put at least one nasty episode in comic perspective, to reflect on some of the ridiculous realities of American political life.
Elias Savada - Film Threat
It's a movie of sporadically entertaining scenes that add up to a vaguely unsatisfying whole.
Walter V. Addiego - San Francisco Chronicle
Instead of two stars, give it three Maalox bottles.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Sadly, Casino Jack just doesn't measure up to its own yardstick of success.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
Kevin Spacey gives a bravura performance as superlobbyist Jack Abramoff in George Hickenlooper's uneven but often loopily entertaining Casino Jack.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Despite some sharp moments, just too messy and uneven to hit the target consistently.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The biggest asset in Casino Jack is Spacey, who plays Abramoff as the cynical, snappy type of character he made so memorable in American Beauty.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Hickenlooper offers a one-dimensional portrait of a jacked-up Abramoff.
Robert Levin - amNewYork
Irreverent and satirical with cocksure brilliant Kevin Spacey adroitly handling the constantly shifting, darkly absurdist allegiances.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
I'd probably watch a movie like Casino Jack on TV and think, 'Yup, that's pretty much what I thought happened.' Nothing more.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
If you care about the material, you already saw it done earlier, and better, in the Gibney film.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Kevin Spacey gives such a cynical and calculated perfromance as Jack Abramoff that he makes the man less interesting than he must have been. For better account, watch Gibney's docu about the same subject, "Casino Jack and the United States of Money."
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
A refreshing take on the political crime drama.
Barbara Goslawski - Boxoffice Magazine
...suspended uneasily somewhere between comedy and drama
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
Spacey never transforms into the role. The part is tailored to match Spacey's favorite pastime: Playing Kevin Spacey.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
[H]ow a bill becomes a law in DC--a comedy. . .Spacey gives the full razzle dazzle of a flamboyant, complex idealist-turned-wheeler dealer. . .Lovitz is hilariously serious.
Nora Lee Mandel - Film-Forward.com
Great fun and strong filmmaking, encapsulating the hubris and self-aggrandizement that marked the career of uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The movie also hints that it's OK to be a hypocrite as long as you point out the hypocrisy of others.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Abramoff offers Spacey his most distinct and galvanic character since his highly entertaining take on Lex Luthor in Superman Returns
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
Hickenlooper and Snider are wise to stage Abramoff's story as political satire, but Casino Jack gets so bogged down trying to explain everything that the jokes, when they come, have no snap.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
The Abramoff affair reads like a Hollywood screenplay, but this feature rarely fulfills its promise. Kevin Spacey is fun to watch playing a man by turns cunning, corny and crazy.
Wendy Weinstein - Film Journal International
[T]his year's non-fiction treatment of the Jack Abramoff story, Alex Gibney's Casino Jack and the United States of Money, crackles and engages where this docudrama falls flat.
Alonso Duralde - MSNBC
Somehow manages to make corruption boring.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Spacey seems to think he's making a comedy -- a good actorly instinct -- but director George Hickenlooper makes the offensive decision to treat Abramoff's transgressions as more grist for the Bush-grinding mill.
Armond White - New York Press
There is something fascinating in seeing a really successful criminal mind doing his thing.
Mark R. Leeper - Mark Leeper's Reviews
The film seems determined to make Jack Abramoff halfway redeemable, a questionable goal given the real-life damage the man wrought, no matter how much the system may have been to blame.
Andrew Schenker - Slant Magazine
A revisionist history bio-pic, reminiscent of Charlie Wilson's War, which recasts an arrogant influence-peddler behaving like he's above the law as merely a bad-boy bon vivant with the best of intentions.
Kam Williams - TheLoop21.com
A fast-paced and spunky depiction of the power-plays, greed, corruption, and grandiosity of GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a larger-than-life wheeler-dealer.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Coming just a few months on the heels of Alex Gibney's Jack Abramoff documentary, director George Hickenlooper's feature version shellacs rather than shackles its GOP super lobbyist anti-hero.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Embodies the apathy of all those bad liberals who talk about how terrible things are and continue about their day.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
Spacey transforms a villain into a mere scoundrel
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
'Casino Jack' does an impressive job of displaying Abramoff's good and bad in an enjoyably matter-of-fact fashion.
Scott Weinberg - Cinematical
...a sporadically compelling yet lamentably uneven endeavor...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews