All in 2006 is a mood crusher. Chances are you will spend the first 20 minutes with a wrinkled forehead, in total disbelief. In your mind, you are likely to hear words like this is terrible, and it couldn’t get any worse. It does get worse. The next few minutes of the film, and hysteria floods your system. A whole hour elapses, and the only thing you can do is kick yourself for having wasted your times watching the madness.
Yeah, the film is a whole new level of terrible. The script and the casting are lousy that it should have been nominated for the worst movie of its year. How is it that nobody felt gusty enough to stop its production? The film tried to project professional poker and attempted to fashion a metaphor for the inspirational. The phrase are you in or are you out features prominently in the film. Is that supposed to be some deep philosophical stuff?
Had it been a film about some young person with family issues and ego that prevents them from making the right choices in life, then the question would be appropriate. As the film stands, the main character Ace (Dominique Swain), like the card, does a terrible job of the role. She does not project a personality in problems. All you get from the character is that she is a go-getter and that about it. Yea, sure, the doc at her medical school causes her to pause and ponder, but that adds no value whatsoever to her role or the film itself.
Ace is introduced to us via flashback, as a little girl watching her father (Michael Madsen) at a poker table taking on Gosset and company – war buddies. We get the notion that they are friends who fought the same war because they are constantly parading cheap expositions about how one saved some of the others during the way, and so forth. Ace’s mother (Hayley DuMond), a bible peddling mom, disapproves of all the poker and gambling going on around her. More flashback shows that it was poker that broke the family, which led the father to drive off a cliff.
Before his demise, the father was a poker expert who took his time to teach other the art of the game. Part of his wisdom was that each hand is either a loser or a winner, something Kenny Rodgers was wise enough to say years ago. Well, Ace has grown up and headed to med school, without as much as a bye from the mother, whose hate for medicine and helping people is only rivalled by her hate for poker.
Life in med school is tough, particularly because her instructor speaks in clichés. Thanks to the instructor, all first-years have to work in a local hospital with very few malpractice suits. This idea does not tickle the chief Doctor at the hospital. He is also involved in countless illegal activities, including blackmailing immigrants. Ace is forced to confront the issue in two different scenes, making you wonder whether the scriptwriter forgot that she already did it. There’s a lot of verbal showdown with the same content in different scenes.
What’s the connection between poker and medicine? Let’s get to that All in (2006) style. Well, there’s no direct connection, other than the fact that the producer wanted to create multiple points of conflict. One has nothing to do with the other, but the mess dies down. When it emerges again, we had already forgotten that it existed.
Anyways, Ace and friends find themselves broke and decide that poker is the way forward. One friend has a photographic memory, while another is good at numbers, so that becomes a lifestyle from thereon. The idea was that Ace enters a poker tournament so that they can mint millions.
For a film that’s mostly about poker, it takes its time getting there and quizzes everything within a short time frame. That’s not the shocking bit. Would it surprise you to learn that four sane minds wrote this script? Well, four people wrote it, which why the cast is no convincing at all. They could not agree on which direction to take, so they butchered the plot.
Things get somewhat interesting when Ace makes it to the big game, where she faces her med school instructor and some guy who looks like her father but only buried deep in makeup. If everything else before this point did not get you to scream your head off, chances are you will be driven crazy by how stupid this final bit looks.
Its low budget, and it shows. Nothing works, and it’s all thanks to a poorly scripted plot. Party Poker, the site that’s mentioned countless times in the film, must have been out of their mind to sponsor this film, but they did.