Boiler Room

on February 18, 2000 by Annlee Ellingson
Featuring some of the hottest young actors working today, "Boiler Room" is two hours of testosterone set in the world of stocks and bonds. Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) has dropped out of school, becoming an entrepreneur of sorts by operating well oiled, finely tuned illegal casino out of the back door of his apartment. His father Marty (Ron Rifkin), is a judge, however, and obviously strongly disapproves. So when the opportunity presents itself to join an up-and-coming trading firm, Seth jumps at the chance to go legit and impress his father. Never mind that JT Marlin is located off exit 53 on the Long Island Expressway, far away from Wall Street, or that he spies paper shredding going on late at night or that he and his peers are earning way more money than financially feasible.
The sexist machismo that pervades this film isn't lost on the filmmakers. Writer-director Ben Younger even goes so far as to include "Don't pitch the bitch" (in other words, never sell to women--they call too much) as part of JT Marlin's outrageous basic rules of trading. He anchors his characters in the real world, exposing their flagrant behavior through their impotence at spending money and the reactions of "real" Wall Streeters who make fun of the Italian suits they're so proud of. And the rap soundtrack juxtaposed with the predominately white, male cast cleverly comments on the characters' self-delusion
"Boiler Room's" greatest strength is its energy level. Every scene clips along at the pace and energy level of the world in which it's set. If it ever lags, Ben Affleck arrives for what amounts to a cameo, delivering a rip-roaring speech that consists of foul language and offensive observations a la "In the Company of Men" before whipping out of the room, out of the scene and out of the film. Starring Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Ben Affleck, Tom Everett Scott and Nicky Katt. Directed and written by Ben Younger. Produced by Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd. A New Line release. Rated R for strong language and some drug content. Running time: 117 minutes
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