Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore should have made the good fold when the script for “Lucky You” came around. It’s not much of a movie, probably more of the World Poker Tour brought to the big screen with a little bit of fake dialogue and relationships.
If you aren’t a fan of watching games of poker playing nonstop, well, you should probably stay away. Poker fans may be interested, provided the plot points don’t distract. Most of the action takes place at the tables and it’s a nuanced sort of action. Actually, the action consists of lots of staring and poker chip shuffling. Enthralling, just like paint drying.
Hotshot poker player Huck Cheever (Bana) has been dealt a hard hand. He’s broke and needs to get into the World Championship Poker Game. He spends his times playing with “the guppies” as he calls them, earning a few hundred dollars easily, as the card sharks play for the big bucks.
He may be a winner at the tables, but not really in life. Huck has an estranged father, L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall), who taught him the game with pennies, nickels and dimes on the kitchen table. He also has a horrible track record with women. The newest “victim” is Bakersfield gal Billie Offer (Barrymore), a lounge singer trying to make it in Vegas.
To deal with his demons and start a winning streak, Huck needs to buckle down and straighten out his priorities. Life doesn’t revolve around the poker tables, because the tables don’t always love you.
The release of "Lucky You" was postponed from September 2006 and it hits studios this weekend. What a weekend to release, too, what with “Spiderman 3” opening. It’s as if the studios realized that it was a lost cause and decidedit was better to bury the movie.
How many romantic clichés could be jammed into a single movie? “Lucky You” tries its best to hit them all. Good girl falls in love with a bad boy. She’s the only one who really understands him. He hurts her and she walks away. He learns to change and they get back together. It’s the template for a romantic movie that has nothing to do with romance.
There’s also the family melodrama: a son resents his father, but then learns to forgive and they pick up right where they left off in life.
Barrymore may be one of People’s “Most Beautiful People,” but she’s less than pretty in this film. She has her adorable moments, like showing how little she knows about poker etiquette while at the tables. She also gets to show off her singing pipes, which are passable for a lounge singer, on two songs in a small club. But there’s nothing behind her performance, there’s barely any emotion even when the tears are pouring down her cheeks.
Although filmed prior to “Munich,” one needs to ask if this is Bana’s misstep in American films. He’s shown he can provide a powerful performance, like in “Munich,” and an admirable one, “Black Hawk Down,” but a romance film just isn’t for him. At least, “Lucky You” isn’t.
A small plus would be all the real life poker players making cameos throughout. "Lucky You" does give a little recognition to their game, but it's just not a crowdpleaser.
Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.
However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.
Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson.
Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.