Guns, Girls, Gambling (2012)
-Review by Nic Brown-
Elvis impersonation seems to be a hobby anyone can enjoy. No matter whether you look anything at all like the King of rock & roll, put on a puffed up wig and a sequined jumpsuit and you’re ready to go. If you have some fake Elvi, then what better venue for them than a casino to compete to see who’s the King of the King look-a-likes? After all, casinos represent a lot of the same things as Elvis in the last years of his life: a lot of flash, a lot of flare, excitement…. and a very large buffet. So what could possibly go wrong when you have an Elvis impersonation contest at a casino located on a remote Indian reservation? Well if you asked John Smith (Christian Slater) he’d say a whole lot, in writer/director Michael Winnick’s film “Guns, Girls, and Gambling”.
Smith is a down on his luck guy. His girlfriend left him a few months back and he’s wound up at this casino… which just happens to be hosting an amateur Elvis impersonator contest. Sign up and they’ll even give you the gear if you don’t have your own. During the show, Smith briefly hooks up with a beautiful woman, whose only interest in him is stealing his wallet. After that, he ends up in a poker game with some of his fellow Elvi. There’s “The King Elvis” (Gary Oldman) who won the contest. There’s also “Little Person Elvis” (Tony Cox), “Asian Elvis” (Anthony Brandon Wong) and “Gay Elvis” (Chris Kattan). Smith loses all his remaining cash, but that’s not his real problem. When he wakes up in the morning, he’s grabbed by “The Chief” – it seems the Chief , who owns the casino, has been robbed by one of the Elvi, and Smith is the only one at hand. You see, the Chief believes all of his tribe’s success with the casino is the result of a captured Hopi mask that is supposed to bring good fortune to the bearer. The mask was what was stolen and it’s worth more than Smith’s life to them to get it back.
“Guns, Girls, and Gambling” is a fast-paced film that takes advantage of an ensemble cast of quality talent to tell a simple story in a fun way. The movie is shot from John Smith’s perspective with frequent narration as Smith breaks the fourth wall and addresses the audience. The jokes are frequent and for the most part successful, and the story has enough twists and turns to make it difficult to guess what’s going to happen next. There is plenty of action to punctuate the jokes, and the film has some surprisingly dark undertones to it. When it comes the gunplay and violence, they’re no laughing matter.