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  Publicity Stills of "Lucky You"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Curtis Hanson
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Eric Bana, Robert Duvall, Debra Messing
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: GVP
Rating: PG
Official Website: www.luckyyoumovie.com

Synopsis :

Billie Offer came to Las Vegas with dreams that have nothing to do with what’s in the cards. She is hoping to make a new life as a singer, and Vegas, with its miles of small clubs and smoky lounges, seems like the right place to start. But when Billie meets Huck Cheever her life changes in ways she never expected.

A professional poker player, Huck is known around town as a blaster—a player who goes all out, all the time. But in his personal relationships, Huck plays it tight, expertly avoiding emotional commitments and long-term expectations. When Huck sets out to win the main event of the World Series of Poker—while also trying to win Billie’s affections—there is one significant obstacle in his path: his father, L.C. Cheever, the poker legend who abandoned Huck’s mother years ago. In the end, it is Billie’s call to make. If they are going to have any chance at all, she is going to have to show Huck that to win in the games of life and poker, he must try to play cards the way he has been living his life and live his life the way he has been playing cards.

Movie Review:

Director Curtis Hanson has had a few good movies under his filmography, but truth be told, they aren’t exactly the most entertaining ones, given the big names starring in them. Let’s see, there were Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey in L.A. Confidential (1997), Tobey Maguire and Katie Holmes in Wonder Boys (2000) and wow, Kim Basinger and a certain rapper named Eminem in 8 Mile (2002).

The abovementioned movies are talkies, and intelligently ones at that. Not to mention the fine writing that has gone into the screenplays.

With Hanson’s latest work, he has shown what a skilled director he is, skillfully slowly milking out the intricate performances from the stars.

The 124-minute movie slowly takes its time to tell a father-and-son story (do not be misled by the handsome man and pretty lady on the poster image). Eric “The Hulk” Bana plays a poker player in Vegas who is on a quest to clinch the world champion title. However, he has some personal battles to fight – and that includes having to go heads on with his father at the poker table. He also needs to find time to win a young bar singer’s heart.

What a game of life, we’d say.

The movie may not be everyone’s cup of tea because other than the superb acting by the cast, there isn’t really much to look forward to, unless you are a poker fan who enjoys seeing cards being flipped over. The anticipation and excitement is unfathomable to this reviewer though.

Bana plays his character with depth and an emotional angst that will make women drool over his manliness. Veteran actor and Oscar winner (1983, Tender Mercies) plays the father figure with ease and takes care not to inject too much melodramatic elements into the respected role.

And then there is Drew Barrymore who last charmed us in Marc Lawrence’s Music and Lyrics. The engaging actress’ role as a idealistic girl looking for love may not be the most interesting character we seen in recent times, but she plays it with so much warmth and versatility, we can’t help but fall in love with her every line.

We don’t know about other disgruntled female audiences out there, but we love Barrymore’s charm and charisma.

Other than a few breathtaking scenes of Las Vegas (we love the spectacular-looking water fountain!), the lights and glamour of the casinos are captured nicely on cinematographer Peter Deming’s (Mulholland Drive, Rumour Has It…) lens. Add an easy-going underscore by Christopher Young (Ghost Rider, Spider-man 3) and a few tunes sung by Barrymore herself, and you’d have a grounded production featuring a story about the game of life.

Ultimately, the Hanson-directed picture is a showcase of good acting (credit goes to the good-looking stars), good writing (credit goes to writer Eric Roth and the director who co-wrote the screenplay) and good directing (credit goes to Hanson’s sure-handed style).

Just don’t go into the cinema expecting a high-powered drama involving battling of wits, conmen, shootouts and over-the-top drama.

Movie Rating:

(A movie starring eye candy with sturdy performances and featuring a down-to-earth story with well-intended messages)

Review by John Li


. Music & Lyrics (2007)

. You, Me And Dupree (2006)

. Failure To Launch (2006)

. Wedding Crashers (2005)

. The Perfect Catch (2005)

. Munich DVD (2005)

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