In “The Squeeze,” Augie, played by Jeremy Sumpter (“Friday Night Lights”) is a young golf phenom who comes to the attention of a gambler named Riverboat, played with aplomb by Christopher McDonald (“Boardwalk Empire”). Since Augie’s family life is in turmoil, he needs money, so he makes a deal with the devil (i.e., Riverboat), much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Natalie, played by Jillian Murray (an actress to watch).
But then comes Jimmy Diamonds (played by Michael Nouri of “Flashdance” fame), a crook who demands a win by his own golfer. In order to ensure that win for Jimmy, Augie has to throw the game. “If you don’t lose, I’ll kill you,” he tells Augie.
But Riverboat tells Augie, “If you don’t win, I’ll kill you.” Hence, the squeeze. The fun of watching this film is seeing what Augie does to try to survive his dilemma – with the help of smart and gutsy Natalie.
It has been a while since we’ve seen a golf film, and while this is far from Oscar material, it’s an entertaining dramedy. The most amusing scenes are those between veterans Nouri and McDonald. Watching these two spar with each other – with money as their weapon – is great fun. Katherine LaNasa (“Longmire”), as Riverboat’s moll, also brings some comic moments.
This is screenwriter and director Terry Jastrow’s first feature film after having directed TV movies and numerous golf events. You could say that golf is his forte. The movie is supposedly based on true events, but it doesn’t seem all that plausible. Real or not, the ending is very satisfying.
“The Squeeze” opens in theaters and on VOD Fri., Apr. 17, 2015.