LUCKY YOU, this past summer's poker drama starring Eric Bana and Robert Duvall, was a crushing bore, a reminder that truly excellent filmmakers can have an off-picture. Directed by Curtis Hanson (LA CONFIDENTIAL, WONDER BOYS) and written by Eric Roth (THE INSIDER, MUNICH, THE GOOD SHEPHERD), LUCKY YOU is a curious slog; never terrible, the movie rarely escapes the confines of medicore, and as such, becomes a terminal bore to sit through. It seemed like the kind of early screenplay effort a big writer may have kept in the top drawer of his desk for a few years and once he became famous (and Eric Roth is one of the best writers in Hollywood), he was able to sell it. Bana plays a card-shark named Huck, a guy with a rocky relationship with his father, who is trying to navigate the many poker tables in Vegas. He meets a lounge singer played by Drew Barrymore; all of the predictable romantic dramedy bits ensue.
I was shocked at how pedestrian the entire movie felt. The dialogue and situations were beyond cliched, the music was cheesy, and worst of all, the movie looked like crap (the normally reliable cinematographer Peter Deming was behind the camera). Garish and ugly looking, Hanson and Deming shot Vegas like it was a gigantic funeral home of a city. Truly disappointing. Bana, as usual, gave a solid performance. But one performance isn't enough in a two hour movie with glacial pacing and a general lack of excitement or surprises.
Curtis Hanson was on an incredible filmmaking roll. After trading in his early genre roots as a director (he did THE BEDROOM WINDOW, BAD INFLUENCE, THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, and THE RIVER WILD), Hanson went on an amazing streak of four star movies: LA CONFIDENTIAL, WONDER BOYS, 8 MILE, and IN HER SHOES (a very underrated chick flick). What happened with LUCKY YOU I will never know; I'm surprised that the script even resonated with Hanson. Maybe he just wanted to putz around Vegas.
LUCKY YOU, while never offensively bad or unwatchable, was simply a bore. And that's the worst crime a movie can commit--boring its audience.