Win It All

Win It All ★★★★½

The latest from co-writer/director Joe Swanberg and co-writer/actor Jake Johnson works its 'California Split' vibe like a part-time job, adopting a loose, shambling, semi-improvisational style to tell the story of an unlucky young(ish) gambler — a guy who, as his Gamblers Anonymous sorta-sponsor (Keegan-Michael Key) puts it, is “addicted to losing.” So he’s not the kind of dude with whom a criminal associate should entrust with a bag full of money for safekeeping; when, after more than one scene of hilariously battling with himself not to see what’s inside, he begins pulling stacks of bills out, there’s a little symphony in the different spins he puts on the half-dozen or so “Oh no”s that follow. Johnson is just the right performer for this role; thanks to his baked-in charisma and likability, you’re with him even when he’s fucking up. And he continues to bring out the best in his director; Swanberg’s filmmaking has never been more confident, from his smooth transitioning of tones (it’s both funny and tense, often at the same time) to his A+ use of on-screen text to the affection he holds for his characters, and the lives they choose to lead.