Lucky (2011) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Lucky is an independent dark comedy about a serial killer who accidentally wins the lottery and earns a chance to win over his lifelong crush as well. While an interesting premise, the combination of serial killer with romantic comedy doesn’t always work, but the two worlds do play off one another fairly well. Collin Hanks (Orange County) is the ever lucky Ben. After killing a woman who recently purchased a lottery ticket, his mother finds it in his dirty car and turns it in for the prize of $36 million. This attracts the attention of the girl across the street, Lucy, whom he’s had his heart set on since childhood. Comedy ensues (or tries to) as Lucy soon learns of Ben’s little secret during their honeymoon. Can she keep the murders covered up long enough to cash the lottery check and get out of Dodge? Or will their marriage end up working out after all?

Hanks plays Ben as creepy and subdued as possible without being unlikeable or overtly strange. Any successful serial killer knows to stay out of the spotlight, it’s kind of in their nature (ever seen Dexter?). It’s not until Lucy encourages Ben to embrace his new found fortunes that he begins to step out of his comfort zone. Unfortunately that exacerbates his infatuation with killing girls that look similar to her (see women, not always a good thing to encourage your man).

Ari Graynor really shines as Lucy. I could easily see this fun and bubbly character amongst the cast of The Office. She plays the gold digger with a certain amount of charm such that when Lucy lifts Ben up we really start rooting for this couple. Of course behind the smiles are the motives of some pretty crazy and petty people. I think most audience members will agree that these two were not only made for each other, but truly deserve each other. Ann-Margret (the chick from that Schwarzenegger western, if you know what I’m talking about you’re awesome) and Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) round out the cast as Ben’s mother and a police detective. Neither are in the film much, especially Tambor who must have been on set for one day.

Gil Cates Jr’s direction reminded me a lot of a Robert Zemeckis in the vein of Death Becomes Her or Thomas Schlamme’s So I Married an Axe Murderer. Lucky plays and looks like something from the early 90’s, which is a relaxing and settling choice for the sometimes dark content.

The ending really ties the film together and brings us full circle with the story and the characters. Overall I’d say check out Lucky if you’re out of new things to watch, but there are plenty of other films to see first.

Director: Gil Cates Jr
Stars: Collin Hanks, Ari Graynor, Ann-Margret, Jeffrey Tambor

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