The funny and poignant Win Win is best enjoyed with minimal information going into it, allowing the story to unfold with its dramatic and humorous exchanges intact. The trailer gives away too many second-half developments for a movie that could be described as an R-rated version of The Blind Side.
Don't read too much into that comparison, though: The Blind Side was based on a true story; this one is pure fiction. The Blind Side was wholesome; Win Win has a fair amount of profanity and lacks overt Christian undertones (though the core family in the film is seen going to church). But both films share a heartwarming mixture of drama and comedy, depicting families whose lives are enriched after loving troubled teens with hidden talents.
Paul Giamatti—always terrific at playing the down-on-his-luck everyman—gives one of his most charming and relatable performances as Mike Flaherty, a family man with two young children living in suburban New Jersey. He operates a struggling law firm while also coaching the high school wrestling team with his friend Vigman (perpetually dour Jeffrey Tambor). As the clients dwindle and the bills pile up, Mike suffers from stress attacks, trying to get healthier by faithfully jogging every morning; it's not helping much.
A simple solution arises via one of Mike's clients. The state wants to put elderly Leo (Burt Young from the Rocky movies) in a hospital since he is in the early stages of dementia with no immediate family in contact—his daughter in Ohio has been out of touch for 20 years. Drawn to the extra income that Leo can afford for personal care, Mike offers to serve as guardian so that Leo can rest comfortably at home. A seemingly noble gesture, except Mike isn't entirely truthful ...1