Favorite

Bad Luck! 

This poker movie will have you wanting to abandon the game early

A couple of years ago, celebrity poker tournaments managed to get some interest on cable channels; in turn, that has kicked up some interest for poker movies. Hollywood tries to cash in on that nutty poker craze with Lucky You, a torturously bad, ill-conceived card movie that turned my stoic poker face into a full-on pained grimace.

Eric Bana stars as Huck Cheever, a total idiot hotshot card player with bad hair and bad taste in leather jackets. The film opens with an interesting enough scene as Bana haggles with a pawnshop owner, but things slowly go downhill when he enters a casino. The film really bottoms out and stays there when Drew Barrymore--a decent enough comic actress, but someone who's lacking in the dramatic department--shows up and drawls her lines. She plays Billie Offer (What's with these stupid names?), a mopey casino singer who is stupid enough to still hang around with Huck after he steals her money. I always questioned Barrymore's acting abilities, and this film doesn't do much for the argument that she's any good. Start campaigning for your next Adam Sandler reunion, Drew.

Huck and Billie conduct a boring relationship with the World Series of Poker as the backdrop. He is looking to buy himself a seat in the tournament in order to best his poker nemesis, and father, L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall). This sets the table for a bunch of preliminary matches where Bana's Huck whines at Daddy for his lousy parenting skills. I have no doubt that any man pissing and moaning about his daddy during a high-stakes poker match would get doused by a fellow player's drink. Not once does any player in this film tell the two grousers to shut the hell up. They just look bemused, as if to say, "Those crazy kids!" Then they keep on playing.

As for Drew Barrymore's singing ... yeesh! I hereby issue an apology to Kirsten Dunst for my comments about her warbling in Spider-Man 3, because Barrymore is far worse. My friend had a big, sweet dog that would yowl in the corner, just for the hell of it, and that dog could carry a tune far better.

Watching Barrymore put her heart and soul into some casino cabaret standards made me want to exit the theater in a dead sprint, blasting by the dude taking tickets so fast that he'd shout, "Damn, that there movie critic sure has a bee in his bonnet! Must've been the Barrymore singing. Seems to have that effect on the local folk." (For some reason, I picture the ticket taker as an old prospector.)

As for the card games, I suppose showing a poker match as they're usually conducted (read: semi silently without family feuds) would've been a bit stagnant. Still, having the Bana character air out his daddy issues in between checks and calls is preposterous.

The film is directed by the normally reliable Curtis Hanson, who can't win with his two stars generating zero chemistry. Casting somebody other than Barrymore probably would've been prudent, but that wouldn't have saved us the tedium of watching Duvall and Bana grouse during card games.

Lucky You could've been helped by somebody like actor/card-shark David Cross getting cast and bringing some life to the party. Cross kicked unholy ass during one of those celebrity poker tournament programs, and this movie is severely in need of his kind of witty banter. As it stands, Cross will be co-starring in another poker film, The Grand, which just screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Hopefully, it will be better than this turkey.

Lucky You
Rated NR

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Lucky You

More by Bob Grimm

  • Wrapped Up in Plastic

    David Lynch's strange and wonderful TV series gets the Blu-ray treatment it deserves
    • Aug 14, 2014
  • Into the Unanswerable

    Director Mike Cahill has created another low(er)-budget exploration of sci-fi themes
    • Aug 7, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Facebook Recommendations

Latest in Cinema Feature

  • Lesser Woody

    Colin Firth shines, but overall, Magic in the Moonlight is definitely not among Woody Allen's best
    • Aug 14, 2014
  • Wrapped Up in Plastic

    David Lynch's strange and wonderful TV series gets the Blu-ray treatment it deserves
    • Aug 14, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Fools and Their Money

    Wish I Was Here is essentially a sequel to Garden State with another great soundtrack, but that's about it
    • Jul 24, 2014
  • More »

Facebook Activity

Tucson Weekly on Facebook

© 2014 Tucson Weekly | 3725 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation