Yonkers Joe's best appeal to me is the movie's realistic approach. The gambling scenes, whether poker, dice or horse-betting, are old-school in simplicity and mystery. Later on, I found out on the DVD Extras that they were all real and I've been practicing a few of the dice tricks myself! Anyway, the film's choice to stay realistic made the movie easier to follow and relate to. The main relationship in the plot centers on a distant father and mentally challenged son who is forced back into the dad's life. The dad resists, and tough moments follow. I have experienced this myself growing up with my own family, and our inability to fully understand the other. From reading other reviews, this part of the plot is the least-liked, but for me, it hit home.
You can't really compare the movie to other recent gambling flicks, such as 21, because Yonkers is an independently produced movie with a first-time director. I wonder if he'll continue making movies centered around the Vegas lifestyle. The movie succeeds for me in balancing the family plot with the gambling exitement that drives Yonkers Joe's lifestyle, and I was glad I took a chance and bought the DVD.
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