Lucky You Curtis Hanson

Lucky You Curtis Hanson
This film doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, merely the feeling of unrealised potential. Co-writer/director Curtis Hanson is most famously responsible for the great L.A. Confidential, a terrific, multi-layered ode to the crime movies of the ’40s. Like that film, he’s assembled a terrific cast here who are unfortunately forced to fumble around with a lacklustre and one-dimensional script. The protagonist is named "Hock” (Eric Bana), a high-stakes poker player who’s working to earn enough money to get himself into the renowned World Series of Poker. The film is built upon the structure that every time Hock thinks he has the money, some minor flaw reveals that he is still broke. This formula gets old very fast. The most ridiculous aspect of this film is his burgeoning affair with Billie (Drew Barrymore), a June Carter persona who has the most ridiculous amount of wide-eyed country innocence. She has come to Las Vegas to pursue her dream of becoming a country singer but is far too cutesy, spineless and boring for the audience to sympathise with. Barrymore does what she can with what is essentially a flat character but other than being pouty and cute she is at a loss. The poker scenes provide the major dramatic action and are consummately filmed by Hanson. Unfortunately the protagonist is so unexciting and the script so weak that the audience finds itself not caring. The only piece of casting that raises this movie to a watchable level is the enlistment of Robert Duvall, playing Huck’s father, a poker legend who drove a wedge through their family home by engaging in the kind of reckless gambling that Huck finds himself repeating. Pieces of self-indulgent and easy irony like this are just an example of the weak screenwriting. However, Duvall lights up the screen in every scene he’s in. The film comes loaded with two featurettes. The first is about the real lives of the authentic poker players cast to play themselves in the film. The second is about the making of the film. Both are watchable, and more enjoyable than the film. (Warner)