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Lucky You
A solid character drama set in the world of championship poker.
Lucky You
Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore in "Lucky You".
OPENING WEEKEND: $14,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $59,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

January 18th, 2006: Eric Bana plays Huck Cheever, a young and talented poker player hindered by his personal demons. When he comes to Las Vegas in search of a World Championship, he meets a struggling singer named Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore). As she grows to care for him, she becomes determined to help him resolve his problems. Ultimately, Huck must tackle his fears all at once as he heads for a poker showdown with his estranged father (Robert Duvall).

What to Expect: Although the plot sounds a tad syrupy and formulaic, it should be handled with competence judging by the filmmakers involved. The director, Curtis Hanson, is now a respected filmmaker after three consecutive critical successes. He first gained overwhelming recognition after the superbly crafted film-noir thriller L.A. Confidential. The film neatly navigated through a complex storyline filled with deceitful characters and would have surely won the Best Picture Oscar if Titanic had not been released the same year. Hanson again showed ease with difficult material when he made Wonder Boys, another densely structured film. The comedy was a pleasure to watch, especially with Michael Douglas delivering an incredibly original and amusing performance. Following Wonder Boys, Hanson helmed the gritty Eminem biopic, 8 Mile. Based on the famous rapperís true-life story, the film was a tremendous success with critics and fans. Hansonís last film, In Her Shoes was a surprisingly small-scale character drama. With all of the above movies, the director has shown his tremendous range in subject matter, but has always kept his work character driven. Eric Roth, who has numerous successes under his belt as well, wrote the screenplay for Lucky You. His Academy Award winning script for Forrest Gump is at the top of his list of credits, which also includes screenplays for Michael Mannís The Insider and Steven Spielbergís Munich. The experienced duo of Hanson and Roth should ease anyoneís doubts about Lucky You.

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The cast in the film should be fun to watch. The charming Eric Bana is slowly becoming a bankable actor in Hollywood after his breakthrough role in Ang Leeís Hulk as the mild mannered Bruce Banner, who transforms into the green giant. Bana effectively handled the lead in the major production based on the comic book. Since then, he has made two more films, the disappointing Troy and the controversial Munich. I initially felt that a role in Steven Spielbergís film may be too demanding for Bana to handle, but he pulled off another respectable performance. Robert Duvall, who will play Huckís father, is one of the most distinguished actors alive. The Oscar winning legendís list of illustrious credits is far too long to discuss here. Since I canít remember him ever turning in less than satisfactory work, his inclusion in the cast is a definite plus for the film and for everyone involved. With the unpredictable Robert Downey Jr. and numerous real-life poker players expected to make an appearance, the cast should deliver quality entertainment overall. Unfortunately, I canít say the same thing about Drew Barrymore. While I have nothing against her personally, I feel that she does not have the background to handle a serious role of this type. She carries a cheerful personality thatís often good for comedy, but causes her to stick out in a lot of her movies. Choosing Barrymore as a low-key Vegas singer that exudes a worldly wisdom, might detract from the filmís realism. Hopefully, Hanson will be able to direct her into a more subtle performance.

Lucky You couldnít possibly come out at a better time, with professional poker at its peak in terms of popularity. You canít change the TV channel without finding a poker match on somewhere. Like with his previous films, Hanson should be able to effectively recreate the setting that the characters inhabit. The grueling world of Vegas poker will provide an atmospheric universe for the story. Having shown great care with their characters in the past, Hanson and Roth can handle the on-screen relationships without allowing them to become exceedingly predictable. The film will probably follow the time-tested formula of the hero overcoming adversity to achieve victory, but with Hansonís direction it should avoid the most routine outcomes. In addition, I expect Hanson to share some valuable secrets, showing a well-researched understanding of the gambling world.

In Conclusion: Lucky You appears to be a solid, realistic, character driven piece of entertainment. It will be less about poker and more about the personal dramas that unfold. While it should deliver some thrills, I doubt that it will have the same energy if someone like Scorsese directed it. With the proficient writer-director team in charge it has tremendous potential to become an exceptional film. Curtis Hanson has a knack for classic Hollywood filmmaking and audiences respond well to his movies. At the very least, it will be an enjoyable way to spend two hours and should deliver some fine acting performances.

Similar Titles: The Color of Money, 8 Mile, Owning Mahowny
May 4th, 2007 (wide)
September 18th, 2007 (DVD)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Curtis Hanson

Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, Robert Duvall, Debra Messing, Robert Downey Jr.

Total: 60 vote(s).


Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual humor

124 min





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