The Grand (film)

The Grand

Promotional poster
Directed by Zak Penn
Produced by Jeff Bowler
Written by Zak Penn
Matt Bierman
Starring Woody Harrelson
Cheryl Hines
David Cross
Chris Parnell
Richard Kind
Dennis Farina
Werner Herzog
Ray Romano
Music by Stephen Endelman
Cinematography Anthony Hardwick
Edited by Abby Schwarzwalder
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release dates
  • June 7, 2007 (2007-06-07) (CineVegas International Film Festival)
  • March 21, 2008 (2008-03-21) (United States)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[1]
Box office $114,669 (USA)

The Grand is an improv comedy film directed by Zak Penn. The film has an ensemble cast including Ray Romano, Woody Harrelson, Chris Parnell, Werner Herzog, Jason Alexander, Dennis Farina, David Cross, Gabe Kaplan, Michael Karnow and Cheryl Hines along with several real Las Vegas poker stars.[1]

According to Penn, the film is styled after those of Christopher Guest,[2] where each actor is given direction concerning their character, and the actors are left to improvise each individual scene. The plot of The Grand was somewhat more open-ended than Guest's work, however. The focus of the film is a poker tournament played at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas between the characters in which real poker matches were played by the actors as the scenes were filmed. The film's script did not specify the winner of the tournament, and the ending of the film was determined by the actual game played on set.[2]

The film debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment.[1]

The film opened in limited release in the United States on March 21, 2008, opened in wider release on April 4, 2008, and is now on DVD.[3]


Jack Faro (Harrelson) is a recovering drug addict who had so many relapses, he decided to move into rehab and just live there. Having been married 75 times, he is a serial husband and is always on the lookout for number 76. (He hits on a bartender who informs him that they had already been married, even though he has no idea who she is.). He enters The Grand: a huge Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament in Las Vegas created by his grandfather Lucky Faro (Barry Corbin). His main motivation is to win the $10 million prize to cover a loan he got to keep open his family's casino, The Rabbit's Foot, which his grandfather left him when he died and that he has mismanaged into the ground.

The rest of the players "won" their seats in an online poker tournament. They include the Schwartzman twins, Larry (Cross) and Lainie (Hines), who have been forced into a sibling rivalry throughout their lives by their father (Kaplan). There is also Harold Melvin (Parnell), a genius who still lives with his mother (Estelle Harris). Other contestants are Andy Andrews (Richard Kind), a math teacher; Deuce Fairbanks (Farina), a wily old veteran of Vegas, and The German (Herzog), a cheater who ritualistically sacrifices small animals to gain luck at cards.


Pro Poker Player Cameos

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. As of March 21, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 42% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 36 reviews.[4] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 61 out of 100, based on 13 reviews.[5]


  1. 1 2 3 Thompson, Anne (June 10, 2007). "'Grand' lands in Anchor Bay". Variety.
  2. 1 2 Interview: Zak Penn's The Grand ( Blog) –
  3. "The Grand (2007) – Release dates". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  4. "The Grand Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  5. "Grand, The (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
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