Jeremy Piven playing the degenerate playboy? Big stretch there! Then again, not much in Smokin' Aces pushes itself too far in any one direction. The movie seemingly wants to be like Ocean's Eleven or Snatch, stylistically speaking, but those films don't take themselves too seriously, while Smokin' Aces suffers deeply from taking-self-too-seriously-itis. Yet there isn't enough fleshed-out drama to put this movie in the ranks with real mobster films either. What the movie has plenty of is humor, thanks to many amusing situations and a talented cast.
The previews made me think this was Jeremy Piven's movie, when in fact, it firmly belongs to Ryan Reynolds. By the end, in fact, Piven's presence is more of a nuisance in the telling of Reynolds' story. Reynolds plays Richard, an FBI agent assigned to the case of Primo Sparazza, a mob boss suspected of being responsible for over a hundred murders. Piven plays Buddy "Aces" Israel, a mobster-turned-illusionist who used to work with Sparazza. The FBI has offered Israel full protection if he will tell them everything he knows about Sparazza. For the details and my take, read more