Lucky You (2007) Curtis Hanson

Production Budget: $55 million

Worldwide Gross: $8 million

A very talented poker player Huck (Eric Bana) is trying to win the World Series of Poker. In the meantime he is trying to work out a relationship with Billie (Drew Barrymore) and his daddy issues with poker grand master L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall).

Yeah, this movie is generic schlock. As I was saying to friends after seeing the trailer, I would have bet good money Eric Bana would say “I’m all in…with my heart.” during the emotional climax of the movie. But in terms of exploitative chick flick schlock, you could do a lot worse than Lucky You. This movie was brought out to kind of cash in on the success of televised poker. While this movie has that poker flavor to it, don’t expect some serious take on the subject matter. These characters could be injected into any movie. We have Huck, who is the impulsive ‘Maverick’ of the poker world. And if he could only work out those pesky emotions could be the bestest poker player ever. Meanwhile we have L.C., who is cold and calculated (an Iceman as it were) and the person Huck has to beat to be Top Gun. You see what I mean? This could be about competitive Scrabble and you wouldn’t really change anything.

Most of this movie is carried by the actors. Eric Bana plays a gambler with a golden tongue who also has a serious addiction. He does a good job at being a charming guy but also a dick when he needs to be. And of course Duvall is comfortable as ever playing Robert Duvall. He earns his pay sitting at a poker table throwing out pieces of homespun wisdom about knowing when to hold them and fold them and whatnot. The script is also tailored to have the characters have fun with the material. The script offers no thrills and goes through familiar motions. You really can write the script out from seeing the trailer. But the fun is through the interaction of the characters and the script.

I was dreading seeing this film, but really it wasn’t that horrible. I can’t really defend the movie since it is generic and sappy at times. However the dialog is written well enough and the actors try their best to make it fresh and new (including a surprising cameo from Robert Downey Jr.). If you were forced to watch this movie on date night, it would be an alright experience. Sadly there isn’t anything to recommend people go out and rent this movie. This is an utterly forgettable follow up for Hansen, who directed one of my favorite movies in L.A. Confidential.

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