Set in the seedy, candy floss world of Las Vegas casinos, The Cooler is an indie love story with outstanding performances and nudity of a level rarely seen in American films. William H. Macy is a good choice as the professional loser, while Alec Baldwin plays a casino boss and received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for this, possibly his best performance in years, and Maria Bello, who first made her name in ER and then Coyote Ugly, also received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
South African born Wayne Kramer makes his American feature debut with this film although he did direct Blazeland (1992), a B grade combination of 60s music and horror. Another Las Vegas story, however, isn’t that original and somehow The Cooler feels old fashioned. Nonetheless, it is stylish entertainment and seeing William H. Macy naked in a romantic lead role makes the film worth the price of admission.