A crooked gambler must make good with his Down-syndrome-afflicted son in this caper-movie/family-drama directed by Robert Celestino (Mr. Vincent). An ace at switching dice and stacking decks, Yonkers Joe (Chazz Palminteri) needs to pull the biggest grift of his career to get his estranged son, Joe Jr. (Tom Guiry), into a good special-needs school. That means going to Las Vegas for one big final grift--a winner take all or lose everything proposition--and he's bringing Joe Jr. with him. Christine Lahti plays the lucky girlfriend who helps heal the rift between Joe and the son he barely knows. Lahti is superb, as always, and no one can play a two-bit hustler with as much seedy nobility as Palminteri--together they have real cockeyed class. The rest of the cast follows suit, especially Michael Lerner as Joe's loaded-dice maker. As the challenged son, Guiry acquits himself well in a role that could have been just a Rain Man retread. But good as the family drama is, Yonkers Joe works best when it focuses--with laser precision--on the crooked dice and card schemes: the deadpan one-upmanship, the lightning sleight-of-hand, and the endless war with casino security all have the gritty tang of truth, making it a fine addition to the ranks of the Vegas cinema strip.
Yonkers Joe premiere
Behind the scenes
"Meet Fast Jack"
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