Lucky You (2007)


Eric Bana
Drew Barrymore
Robert Duvall
Debra Messing

duration:  1:51;15
file size:  10.85MB
image size:  480x204
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Plagued by numerous release delays and finally dumped into theaters nearly two years after it was completed, Curtis Hanson's low-key and likable poker drama definitely has some problems, like a tepid romantic subplot between costars Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana, but there are some genuine pleasures to be found in this old-school character study.

Best known for his Oscar-nominated direction of L.A. Confidential, Hanson is a staunch defender of Hollywood tradition, and he handles Lucky You with a delicate, John Huston-like touch, trusting the strengths of a character-driven screenplay (by Eric Roth) and the established appeal of a generally well-chosen cast.

Eric Bana plays Huck Cheever, the gambling son of a gambler, who's itching to earn a seat in the World Series of Poker, where he'll play high-stakes Texas Hold-'Em against the world's finest, including his semi-estranged father L.C. (Robert Duvall), with whom Huck has had a turbulent past relationship. They're both compulsive and highly skilled competitors, but their gambling habits don't impress Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore), a decent, good-natured chanteuse who's just arrived in Las Vegas for her first professional nightclub gig. She'll watch with interest as Huck wins his way to the big game, but she's cautious about Huck's smooth-talking, untrustworthy, and ethically dubious lifestyle. That makes Lucky You a disappointment for anyone expecting romantic sparks to fly, and the poker angle rides a trend that was more or less over by the time this movie was finally released.

Still, there's enough going on here to hold anyone's interest, and Lucky You is a welcome reminder that movies don't always require fast-cutting action and elaborate special effects. It's got an unhurried quality that's quietly refreshing, even if it qualifies as an anomaly in an industry obsessed with blockbuster potential.

--Jeff Shannon