Credit: <i>Mississippi Grind</i>

A degenerate gambler (Ben Mendelsohn) hooks up with a younger, more judicious player (Ryan Reynolds) for a road trip from Dubuque to New Orleans, with frequent stops at casinos, dog tracks, and underground poker games. Writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck want to tell a story of addiction (as they did so brilliantly in their debut feature, Half Nelson), but the men’s cross-country lark works against this conceit; such stories usually involve mounting consequences, but whenever these guys run into trouble, they simply move on. Even as a road movie this is pretty bland: the pleasure of a picaresque lies in the colorful characters the protagonist encounters during his journey, but the best Boden and Fleck can come up with is a pair of vapid casino hookers (Sienna Miller, Analeigh Tipton). With Alfre Woodard, typically excellent and typically squandered.