The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Lucky You

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Judy Thorburn

Lucky You

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"LUCKY YOU" - IF YOU PASS ON THIS FLICK

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Take it as a hint when a movie initially scheduled for a release date is pushed back, especially if that happens more than once. Usually that is a sign of bad news for moviegoers or, let me put it plainly, the film is most likely a disaster, dead in the water, a bomb, or however else you want to put it. One can only assume that if the studio wasn’t enthusiastic about the finished project and not sure about what to do with the film consider that to be a forewarning on how audiences will react.

That’s about says it for Lucky You which was originally slated for release in 2006 and after two false starts finally opened in theatres on May 4. Set in Las Vegas amid the high stakes world of poker tournaments only the staunch poker enthusiast may take a liking to this dreary, boring romantic drama since much of the action takes place at the tables. For others like myself, I couldn’t wait for the story to be over.

I have been impressed by past performances of Australian actor Eric Bana who was superb in Munich. He hasn’t yet reached superstar status and this dull film certainly won’t do much to advance his career. Although spending much of the time in poker face mode, Bana is not the main problem. The trouble lies in a weak script and an unforgivable, lackluster performance by co-star Drew Barrymore who plays Bana’s romantic interest.

Bana portrays Huck Cheever, a professional poker player with issues. He’s an expert at the table, possesses great instincts about his opponents but doesn’t have a handle on personal relationships, when it comes to women or with his estranged father two time World Series of Poker champ, and utmost rival, LC Cheever (Robert Duval), who left Huck and his mom when he was a youngster but is back in town for his third try at the title.

Huck has never been able to handle a love commitment nor does he have time with a life that revolves around gambling. Former girlfriend Suzanne (Debra Messing) knows the score. Yet when her kid sister Billie (Drew Barrymore) arrives in town from Bakersfield hoping to land a gig as a lounge sister it doesn’t take too long before she manages to grab Huck’s eye and they go on a date. Where does he take her? Where else, but to the poker table where she (and those of us not in the know) gets a lesson in poker 101 and learns the meaning of Texas Hold em, The Flop, The Turn, The River and Burning the Card.

The trouble is Huck needs $10,000 as an entrance fee in the World Series Poker tournament and he is desperate for cash. After spending the night with Huck, Billie discovers that he has stolen all of her money. Time for a reality check! This is where it is obvious a man (actually it took 2) must have written the script. No woman in her right mind would want to have anything else to do with the scoundrel other than going after him to get back what is rightfully hers and possibly seeking revenge before getting a million miles away from this loser. But we are supposed to believe that Billie possesses some unique instincts of her own. It only takes an “I’m sorry” because Billie can read people and see their underlying pain and motives. Her reason for being is to teach Huck a thing two about life as in “playing cards the way he has been living life and live life the way he has been playing cards”, as if that pretentious reasoning makes any sense.

Even when Huck manages to get his hands on the needed cash, he manages to find a way to foolishly gamble it away. A couple of characters he comes in contact with for help is a 1-900 telephone scam artist (Robert Downey Jr.), a high stakes money backer (Charles Martin Smith) and a guy who will gamble on anything just for the fun of it (Horatio Sanz of TV’s Saturday Night Live).

Bana and a dark haired Barrymore have zero chemistry. I never once bought her “instinctive” excuse for wanted to be with Huck or why Huck wanted to pursue her more than any other woman he’s met up till now. We aren’t given much to go by other than banal platitudes that Billie spews out at Huck from time to time, such as “I think that everyone’s trying not to be lonely”…and other lines like that which had me on the verge of gagging!

Since the romance is implausible, and even the ultimate poker tournament is a predictable snooze fest, more attention should have been given to the father-son dynamics because whenever Duval and Bana go at it at least some interest is perked up. As it was, I spent a great deal of the time looking for some familiar faces, ie friends and acquaintances, who were employed as extras, excuse me, background players for this Las Vegas shot film. The high point for me was near the ending when I saw a friend throw her hands up with excitement after supposedly winning at a background slot machine. There is more life in her tiny screen moment than the entire film.

It’s hard to believe that Curtis Hanson, the same director of such winners as L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile, In Her Shoes and others is the director and co-writer (with Eric Roth) of this forgettable flick. I understand Hanson is a big poker enthusiast, but his love of the game won’t make a dent in anyone other than those of the same mindset. With little, if any, redeeming qualities, I will bet the deck is stacked against Lucky You surviving at the box office. That’s not a bluff!

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