Cinema: It's All in the Selling

Let's not call Boiler Room hot. Let's just say it's prickly, ethical and anything but boilerplate

Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) makes money the old-fashioned way: he has turned his college-dropout pad into a mini-casino, where he deals blackjack. It's a nice living, but not a lifestyle that offers much in the way of parental bragging rights. This is a matter of some moment to Seth's sour father (Ron Rifkin), a federal judge who has sentenced his son to life in the doghouse for his slacker ways.

What Seth needs in a hurry--that is, before he turns 30--is a Ferrari, a closetful of Armanis, a couple of mil--and, oh yes, respectability. That's where J.T. Marlin, the brokerage firm,...

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