Boiler Room

The scary thing about rap and hip-hop music is that the majority of it is bought by white people. And for all the white people who are ashamed to go watch the latest Spike Lee Joint, here comes Boiler Room. Set in the fast-paced world of investment banking, Boiler Room is the white man's equivalent of a gangsta movie. This time, the gang is the brokerage firm JT Marlin. The prerequisite rap soundtrack is present, as is the almost fully male cast. And most important, the film is mediocre at best. This is the directorial debut for Ben Younger, who also wrote the film, and it's not bad for a first shot.

JT Marlin is seen through the eyes of Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi, The Mod Squad, The Other Sister), one of the new recruits. Marlin preaches to its employees that if they work hard, they can make lots of money quickly. He is looking for a way to find favor in the eyes of his father Marty (Ron Rifkin, LA Confidential, Keeping the Faith). Before his employment at JT Marlin, Seth ran an illegal casino in his apartment, which endangered his father, a judge. JT Marlin seems different from other brokerage firms. The stocks it picks soar through the roof, yet the firm is relatively unknown. JT Marlin is also not on Wall Street, but an hour away in a nondescript building. Davis' suspicions begin to grow, until he realizes that the JT Marlin is able to attain astronomical profits by selling stock in companies that do not exist.

Ribisi really fits the image of Seth. He has droopy eyes and somewhat large cheeks, radiating an aura of innocence and naivete. Davis begins works as a shy, timid outsider, but quickly excels into one of the better performing trainees of JT Marlin. By the middle of the movie, he is arrogant, loud, and brash, like a good investment banker should be. The other performances are fairly marginal. Nia Long (In Too Deep, The Best Man) is Abby, the firm secretary and love interest of Seth. Vin Diesel (Iron Giant, Pitch Black), Jamie Kennedy (Bowfinger, Three Kings) and Nicky Katt (One True Thing, The Limey) play small roles, while better actors Ben Affleck (Reindeer Games, Dogma) and Tom Everett Scott (One True Thing, The Love Letter) are relegated to even smaller ones. It takes a while for Boiler Room to hit its stride, then it chugs along before crashing to a halt. Everything about the movie is fairly standard and the excitement level never reaches very high. And hey, how realistic is the portrayal of a brokerage when Davis walks into the office at night and no one is working?

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 50 minutes, Rated R for strong language and drug content.

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