Shooting Gallery (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

It's the Paul Newman mix-and-match movie! Take the billiards action from The Hustler and mix it with the con artistry from The Sting, and you have Shooting Gallery. Don't be put off by the fact that it went straight to video, or that it stars Freddie Prinze Jr. in the Fast Eddie role. Shooting Gallery is actually well done for a movie with a limited budget ...

...  but I have to warn you about a few of its eccentricities:

  • Although the final solution to the puzzle is clear enough, you will be confused more than once by the identity of the characters and whose side they are really on. It seems that everybody is running a con on everybody else, and yet also hedging their bets by running a second partnership with the "mark." Even when the film is finished and the long con is completely explained, you may not understand how all the minor characters fit in.
  • Just about every character is eccentric and speaks in some kind of patois which is further complicated by various quirky verbal mannerisms and accents. There are times when it's hard to understand what the characters are saying, and that can be irritating in a complicated sting movie. Sometimes it seems that the actors are having a contest to see who can act and sound the strangest. You may feel that you have been stranded inside a Benicio del Toro impersonating contest.
  • The photography is quite stylized. It takes place in a sleazy section of Nawlins, and the photographic style accentuates the gritty look of the neighborhood. It's dark, it's so deeply contrasted as to look posterized in some sections, and it uses a lot of rock video editing tricks.
  • A very substantial portion of the running time is devoted to actual games of 9-ball, so your enjoyment of the movie will be directly correlated to your interest in that game. If you're into that sort of thing, there are some great games with some great shots, and they are actually made by the actors on camera. Heaven knows how many takes some of those shots required, but a lot of it is explained in the various featurettes!

That tells you what kind of movie it is, but still may not indicate how you will react to it.

It is not a type of movie I particularly enjoy. If I were to read what I just wrote, I would be strongly tempted to take a pass. I don't think of  pocket billiards as a spectator sport, and I don't even like to play it that much. I've never been a fan of Prinze. I really get annoyed by movies which try too hard to be eccentric, and I have very little patience with complicated puzzle movies which don't sweat the details of the puzzle. Still, although this film has many elements which normally vex me, I found it reasonably engaging. After a while, I just stopped worrying about the details of the counter-stings, and just enjoyed the atmosphere and some of the crazy characterizations. And Prinze did fine, by the way, as the straight man.



  • Widescreen transfer, anamorphic 16x9
  • Three featurettes. One on trick shots, one on the making of the film, and one on poolhall lingo



Stormy Shuff shows her breasts and buns as a drugged-out lady of the night.

Gorgeous Roselyn Sanchez shows the top of her bum in a thong as she drops her pants. She also has a topless scene, but her breasts remain cupped in Freddie Prinze's hands.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No reviews online.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, it's a C-, a pretty decent flick for a straight-to-vid genre film.

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