Lucky You *
Directed by Curtis Hanson
Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual humor.
I have always enjoyed Curtis Hanson's work-from the intense "L.A. Confidential" to the surprise "In Her Shoes." "Lucky You' seemed like a recipe for success-perhaps a decent love story, both Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore are fine actors. And then it turned out to be one of those "great opening scene movies." In the film, Bana plays a gambling man, and in the first scene we are introduced to him trying to pawn off a digital camera to a woman that wants to give him a small amount of money for it. The scene is very well written and convincing, and promises a fun time for the next two hours. Instead we get a horribly written, poorly acted, cliched love story/father son relationship story, about a father and a son who have a poker rivalry. Bana plays Huck Cheever, who does not have a job, he just gambles in a Las Vegas casino. And when he isn't playing poker, he's playing small bets-one example is how he has to run five miles and then play eighteen holes of golf in under three hours. He rivals with his no good father, played by Robert Duvall, and then meets and falls in love with Billie, played by Drew Barrymore. Billie is warned by her sister, played by Debra Messing in both scenes, that Huck is a heart breaker who often puts himself first. Billie does not listen.
"Lucky You" is not a convincing love story-for one thing there is zero chemistry between Bana and Barrymore. It is a forced story as well. Most of the film is just poker game after poker game with no tension at all. It became boring to watch-and the last thirty minutes as all one game. It was endless, and I am not one of those guys that watch the poker games on ESPN. Often times I did not know what was happening-the poker lingo-or even which cards beat what. The love story was a mere afterthought in between the poker games, and I wondered if perhaps the love story was tacked on to get a film about poker out there to the masses. The script is very poorly written, but some pretty bad wordplay-"Sometimes nothing is everything. . . .You got it backwards kid. You play cards the way you should lead your life. And you lead your life the way you should play cards. . ." etc. "Lucky You" ends up being just a cliched mess, hitting all the standard bases you would expect in a film like this. No magic, no mystery. It isn't even directed well, as if Hanson got bored halfway. I expect better from him, and hope he redeems himself in the future. This is a boring "romance" film.