Ben Mendelsohn specializes in unkempt pathos, last used to great effect in the Netflix series Bloodline. So when a trailer opens on Mendelsohn lying to his bookie over the phone, you know things can only downhill from the public restroom where he’s making the call.
Mississippi Grind pairs Mendelsohn, a compulsive, hapless gambler, with Ryan Reynolds, a seemingly charmed wagerer who exudes a flaky charm. Mendelsohn gravitates to the lucky cardsharp who explains his insouciance in simple terms: “I don’t care about winning.” (Of course, that sounds like exactly the type of hogwash a charlatan would tell you in the process of separating you from your money.)
Meanwhile, Alfre Woodard is introduced as a holder of Mendelsohn’s debts who speaks softly, but carries hired goons. All of this becomes the perfect setup for the hangdog Mendelsohn to explain to his new gambling buddy that while he owes “a lot” to “everyone,” he has a plan, and Reynolds will be his “lucky charm” who can hopefully turn everything around. It’s the type of scientifically proven formula that couldn’t possibly go wrong.
Can Reynolds’ good luck keep beating Mendelsohn’s misfortune? We’ll find out if they wind up relaxing in the sun or wearing matching cinder block boots when Mississippi Grind hits theaters September 25.