God's Pocket

Pete Dexter wrote his first novel, God’s Pocket (1983), after being savagely beaten by a mob outside a bar in South Philadelphia, and he incorporated that incident into his story; you have to wonder how he might feel not only watching that ordeal reenacted onscreen but watching it in a dud like this. It marks the feature directing debut of John Slattery (the snowy-haired advertising executive on AMC’s Mad Men), who attracts a strong cast (Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Richard Jenkins) but whose script, cowritten with Alex Metcalf, plays like a second-hand version of Mean Streets. Hoffman, in one of his last roles, doesn’t seem to be all there as a put-upon gambling addict; Turturro gives the best performance as his old pal and fellow bettor; and the balding, bespectacled Jenkins is absurdly miscast as a sardonic newspaper columnist and chick magnet. With Christina Hendricks and Eddie Marsan.