I didn't find this especially funny or even entertaining simply because its depiction of emptiness and unfulfilled lives felt so painful. There is a sense of near-despair that pervades each scene and every character's bravado. Through the complex sound editing, Altman masterfully creates a sense of both distance and immersion, enabling a viewing experience that is detached yet by no means lacking in compassion.
One of the most genuine and funny movies I've seen. It flows and feels real in every moment. These guys are in a tunnel together, probably on a road to ruin, but man are they having fun.. The compulsive behaviour of taking a chance, taking a risk, is present on every level. At times you admire it, at times you despise it.
Emphasis on "California"—like Inherent Vice, this is best appreciated by those who know the Golden State, with its unconventional makeshift family units and its subcultures trying their damnedest to avoid having a 9-to-5 routine. Its dissection of gambling addiction is heartbreaking, with Elliot Gould the standout as a man capable of papering over his irresponsibility with pure charisma. The wheel keeps spinning.
Enormously entertaining thanks to its leads, though still secondary Cassavetes and let me exercise a blasphemous opinion: I think as an update 'Mississippi Grind' might do it better. Sure, this has the naturalistic charm, but that film is a better exploration of the patterns=meaning behaviour that this ultimately just grazes. Meaning a terrific character study, just thematically unfocused?