DIFF Review…Lucky

Ok, so the idea of “a serial killer winning the lottery” is bound to get plenty of curious (and morbidly curious) in the theater doors. But homicide really is small potatoes compared to marital troubles and incompatibility. Lucky is directed by Gil Cates Jr. and does quite a lot with this little indie script. He sets things up nicely with the simple but passable back story where we find Ben has always been in love with his next door neighbor. But Lucy has never thought of Ben as anything more than a friend. That is until he won the 36 Million dollar Iowa lottery.

Soon Ben’s life is changed completely and he’s now able to pursue Lucy (or really it’s Lucy who pursues him) and the two find themselves happily wed. Although, with any rushed relationship, there are bound to be secrets and skeletons in the closet. In Ben’s case, real skeletons as he’s a serial killer. Talk about an eye-opening honeymoon right? Lucy, who is drawn to Ben simply because of the money, is compelled to stay with him because of it. Even going so far as to helping hide the bodies to keep Ben out of prison so she can enjoy the good life.

While Lucky is billed as a “dark comedy” but really it’s about as dark as say Clue. “Playfully dark” is more like it but even so the film delivers lots and lots of laughs. The biggest drawback to Lucky though is it’s uneven pace. Seems Gil Cates Jr. had trouble finding the balance between plucky and dark and so the film feels equally thrown to either end of the spectrum; almost like you switched between two different movies during the commercials.

The film also has a DTV/indie feel to it. It’s not a bad thing as it allowed film’s quaint story to focus on the main characters and little else because Lucy is simply enchanting. Hanks can’t help but channel/exude his father but he seems to embrace it as his style (and it didn’t get any complaints from the audience I saw it with). Interesting supporting cast in the form of Jeffrey Tambor and Ann-Margret although, sadly, the don’t really do any supporting.

But out of the whole cast, the real Lucky star (queue the Madonna song) is Ari Graynor. Wow, she’s just delightful and makes for the most entertaining part of the entire movie. Graynor embodies the quirky cuteness of both Renée Zellweger and Sandra Bullock (not to mention sort of looking like them) but with 4 times their charm. Hanks starts to get funnier at the end as the two work out their marital differences but Graynor has such a lead jokes-wise that he is all but forgotten by the time the credits roll. I hope that Ari’s career takes off, because even in though this is a little film, it is certainly the vehicle for her to do it with.

Click this link for more info and films in the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival.