It’s a shame to see a movie filled with so much talent all to add up to absolutely nothing. “Boiler Room” trots out a who’s who of really good actors, many of whom were in vogue performers that eventually got their due. I’m especially a fan of Nicky Katt. That said, “Boiler Room” is a crummy retread of “Glenngarry Glenn Ross” sans the plays on “Death of a Salesman.” Ben Affleck appears twice to give a really raucous and loud speech to perspective stock brokers, and really you can’t help but think that Alec Baldwin did it better.
“Boiler Room” really wants to be David Mamet, but fails to be on the same level. It even features a moment where the top brokers of the firm spout lines from “Wall Street” while watching the movie in a group, and it sums up the movie very well. It really wants to be a new age “Wall Street” but it’s barely a memorable drama. Giovanni Ribisi plays Seth, a young college drop out who decides to joins a brokerage firm called J.T. Marlin when an old friend visits and promises success as a broker.
Seth quickly rises to wealth and esteem among his colleagues as a broker, and eventually realizes that not only is the firm illegal, but the FBI is planning to bust the entire staff, including Seth. This could have repercussions on his life, and the life of the people he loves. Including his dad, who constantly berates Seth’s lifestyle. Director Ben Younger’s drama is nothing but a spring board for a lot of new actors, including Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel before he became a humongous star, and folks like Scott Caan, and Tom Everett Scott. For all intents and purposes, the film packs a lot of energy, and the cast is fantastic.
But the narrative just postures itself as this unique spin on “Wall Street,” when really it’s just cribbing from it and Mamet wholesale, and shamelessly. Giovanni Ribisi has shown time and time again what a brilliant actor he can be, and here he feels wasted in what is a bunch of melodramatic sappy junk, when he’s not being forced to shoot out rapid fire dialogue. There’s even a really forgettable romance sub-plot involving Nia Long, who plays a secretary for the firm he works in. All in all, “Boiler Room” stars a host of actors that have offered so much better in past and future films, and this is just a really forgettable vehicle that tries very hard to be taken as anything other than middling drama.