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Lucky (A Movie Review)


LUCKY (2011)

Starring Colin Hanks, Ari Graynor, Jeffrey Tambor, Ann-Margret, Mimi Rogers, Adam John Harrington, Heather Marie Marsden, Tom Amandes, Fernando Lara, Allison Mackie, Dana Daurey, Meghan Strange, Jason Harris, Michael Arata and Samantha Gutstadt.

Screenplay by Kent Sublette and Gil Cates Jr.

Directed by Gil Cates Jr.

Distributed by Phase 4 Films.  103 minutes. Rated R.

Lucky has a pretty fertile idea for a pitch-black comedy. A serial killer finds a winning lottery ticket on the body of his latest conquest. Now a man who by necessity must keep a low profile is suddenly forced into the spotlight of sudden fame.

He has also had an unrequited crush on the same woman all his life – in fact his frustration in that relationship had fueled his killing spree, all the victims were dead ringers (literally) for his crush.

Then it turns out that lifelong crush is a complete gold digger and will do anything to get a hold of his millions – even marrying a man she does not even faintly appear to love. But then what can she do when she stumbles upon his extracurricular activities? After all, if he is sent away to prison for mass murder, she will not be able to collect the money.

So, who is more sympathetic, the murderer or the whore?

Okay, truth is you aren’t going to really like either character, but that is kind of the point. And, in their own odd ways, they each do have good qualities despite the blackness where their souls should be.

It is an interesting love-hate dynamic. In certain ways they can’t stand each other and yet in others they know they are oddly soulmates.

Colin Hanks plays the guy, and his spindly awkwardness does make him a fascinating character – an emotional counterpoint to his heinous acts. Hanks takes advantage of his natural likability and plays the guy as someone who is basically a genial nebbish somehow driven over the edge to extreme violence by social awkwardness, a nowhere job, an overbearing mother and unrequited love. In fact, Hanks could very easily be playing a bizarro version one of his father Tom’s romantic comedy heroes as a schizophrenic sociopath.

Ari Graynor is less appealing as the high-strung “woman of his dreams.” Her performance is so relentlessly over the top that you mostly can’t quite see what he sees in her – though I must admit she raises her game as an actress significantly in later scenes when the bloom is off the rose and bitterness starts showing through.

If this story was played in any way straight, it would be tough to watch. However, the screenplay is so darkly funny, and the film has such a quirky world view that Lucky ends up being much more entertaining than it probably has any right to be.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2011 All rights reserved. Posted: July 15, 2011.

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