The Prime Gig

The Prime Gig (2001)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Ed Harris, Julia Ormond

"The Prime Gig" is a movie about the art of the con which boasts an impressive cast but, in the end, really adds nothing new to the age-old adage, "Never trust a con."

Vince Vaughn stars as Pendelton "Penny" Wise, a telemarketer with a knack for closing the deal. After his latest fly-by-night employer goes belly up, Penny is approached by the beautiful Caitlin Carlson (Julia Ormond) who offers him a once in a lifetime chance to go to work for the mysterious king of the con, Kelly Grant (Ed Harris). Grant has assembled a veritable A-Team of salespeople to push his latest venture, an untapped gold mine, from his very stylish boiler room phone center. While the other folks are swayed by Grant’s promises of quick riches, Penny remains aloof and unconvinced. But a quick couple of thousand, as well as a heated affair with Caitlin, soon change his mind and Penny quickly rises to the top of the sales board.

While all seems right with Penny’s world, his down-and-out childhood pal, Joel (Rory Cochrane), finds himself living on the street spouting beatific odes to a life without entanglements. But a few nights of the hard life find Joel back on Penny’s couch living off the good will of others.

As the end of the Grant’s latest sales push draws near, Penny must decide just how much he trusts Caitlin.

"The Prime Gig" is very leisurely paced for a film that runs only an hour and a half. It takes far too much time to get the ball rolling and even when the story does kick into gear it remains predictable throughout.

The cast, however, is wonderful with Ed Harris delivering his usual fine performance and Julia Ormond burning up the screen in a very sensual role. Her Caitlin is one of the few characters who actually comes across as believable. Vince Vaughn is fine as the lead but Penny is really not interesting enough of a character to successfully anchor the movie. The supporting cast includes folks such as George Wendt, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Wallace Shawn and it’s these bit parts that really shine.

"The Prime Gig" is presented in both 2.35:1 <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> and 1.33:1 <$PS,full frame> versions — both of which reside on the same side of the disc. The overall image quality is quite good. The picture is very sharp (perhaps a little too sharp as diagonal lines get a bit jaggy at times) with little edge enhancement noticeable. Colors are natural and solid and black levels are more than adequate. The transfer is also in pristine shape with no blemishes evident.

Audio comes in English <$DD,Dolby Digital> 2.0 Surround and <$5.1,5.1 mix>es. This is not what one would call a very active soundtrack. The dialogue is planted front and center with a bit of the musical score spreading to the rest of the speakers. There is no deep bass to speak of but neither are there scenes that really warrant its presence.

There are no extras whatsoever on the preview copy of the DVD which seems odd for a New Line release.

"The Prime Gig" is not a bad film but the very predictable nature of its story lessens the enjoyment to a great extent. I thought the behind-the-scenes peek at telemarketer boiler rooms in action was quite interesting and the majority of the actors deliver solid performances but, in the end, the film says nothing that hasn’t been said numerous times.

This new DVD from New Line offers up excellent video and fine enough audio quality but the lack of even the barest extras is perplexing. Worth a rental for fans of Ed Harris and Julia Ormond, "The Prime Gig" simply isn’t the type of disc that warrants a purchase.