“We just knew these characters,” writer-director Tom McCarthy says of setting his new film, “Win Win”, in suburban New Jersey where he and his good friend and first-time cowriter, Joe Tiboni, grew up. The familiarity is immediately palpable when the audience meets lovable shmuck Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), an attorney (like Mr. Tiboni) who moonlights as a local high school wrestling coach (both McCarthy and Tiboni wrestled in high school). As the film opens, Mike finds himself struggling to make ends meet and unwilling to admit just how strapped for cash he is to his wife (Amy Ryan) and two young kids.
It’s a movie about “decent people trying to get by and making the wrong choices sometimes,” McCarthy summarizes. And for Mike that wrong choice is jumping at the opportunity to make a little extra cash in a less than honorable way. One of his older, and increasingly senile, clients can no longer take care of himself and has no reachable family members. In a seemingly victimless crime, Mike takes on guardianship of the aging Leo (Burt Young) but sticks him in a retirement home and pockets the extra $1500 a month.
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