Directed by: Curtis Hanson
Written by: Eric Roth
Starring: Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore
Lucky You takes its chances with the two familiar faces of Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore, with a script churned out by award-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (the brain behind Munich, Forrest Gump, The Horse Whisperer and many more), but fails to be as clever and charming as it could be. With characters that lack creativity and likability – no matter how capable the actors are in portraying them – Lucky You deals a losing hand in its direction and execution.
Huck (Bana) is a confident poker player. Hating the father who taught him everything he knows, Huck hopes to win the world tournament poker championship that his father has won twice in the past. But when a young singer called Billy, looking to make it in Las Vegas, turns up in Huck’s life, he realizes that he can’t gamble people’s feelings or put a price on love.
It’s as cheesy as it sounds. With one hand on the unknown outcome of Huck’s gambling dreams and another hand on the chemistry between Bana and Barrymore, Lucky You goes all in but comes out with relatively unimpressive results. In the opening scene, Bana hooks us in with a proposition to a pawnshop owner, trying to sell a camera for more than its worth. We’re hooked and interested in how this character will develop throughout the film with his natural wit and charm. But once the film turns to romance as a way of suggesting higher stakes and a change in Huck’s lonely routine, there is an undeniable sense of jarring between the two actors that is slightly uncomfortable and awkward to watch. What Lucky You required were more engaging characters that make us care more about them than the stakes of the game. Unfortunately, the story is played with conventionality and predictability that leaves it audiences with nothing but poker faces.