The cooler is a film directed by Wayne Kramer in 2003 and stars Alec Baldwin, William H Macy and Maria Bello. It’s an American romantic drama film based on the ageing Las Vegas casino world where a casino “cooler” is an unlucky individual; usually, a casino employee whose mere presence at any table results in players experiencing streaks of bad luck.
The Main Story
Unlucky Bernie (William H Macy) is an employee at the Shangri-La casino as a “cooler”. He is smitten with a cocktail waitress named Natalie who barely even notices him. Added to the mix is the casino manager, Shelley (Alec Baldwin) who prides himself on running classy Vegas Casinos and detests the newer places that attract a lower calibre of clientele. I wonder what he’s think of today’s top online casino sites..
Bernie decides he is leaving town, but before he does, he saves Natalie from an aggressive customer, and suddenly she starts taking an interest in him and they begin dating. Bernie is apprehensive due to his bad luck and tells Natalie he used to be a gambling addict in massive debt to several casinos. He was saved by Shelley, who broke his kneecaps and paid off his debts in exchange for Bernie’s work as a cooler for six years.
Over time his cooling abilities fade much to Shelley’s dismay, and they run into Mikey, Bernie’s estranged son with his pregnant wife. Bernie fails to effectively cool a hot table being cheated by Mikey, which leads to dire consequences. Shelley beats Mikey and Charlotte and to try and save them Bernie offers to pay the $150 000 back.
The Plot thickens, Natalie is reminded by Shelley that she was hired to date Bernie to stop him from leaving Vegas not to fall in love with him and forces her to leave town immediately. It devastates Bernie and ruins his luck. As she truly loves Bernie, Natalie returns, restoring his luck not before telling him that Shelley initially hired her to keep him in Vegas.
Bernie decides to confront Shelley, and Shelley lets him go on the condition he pays back his son’s debt which Bernie tries to win back at craps. The two of them leave Vegas, where he reveals the fact that he has won a lot of money. They are approached by a cop who is sent to kill them, but its evident Bernie’s luck has changed as a drunk driver kills the cop and Shelley is killed for letting Bernie go. It’s a happy ending that sees Bernie and Natalie drive off free from all the chains that previously bound them.