By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Not a great movie, and definitely not for kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Comic violence, including murder.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references and situations, scenes in topless bar, adultery.
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Frequent strong language.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking, smoking, drug use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language, nudity, sexual references and situations, assault, murder, shooting, drinking, smoking, and drug use, in addition to the overall theme of larceny and fraud. Some characters are punished, but some are not.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
John Travolta plays Russ Richards, a popular local figure with a permanent parking space and roped-off table at his favorite local bistro, Denny's. He has ambitiously but unwisely invested in a snowmobile franchise. Despite his professional expertise, he did not anticipate that Harrisburg's uncharacteristically balmy winter would leave him on the brink of bankruptcy. He consults his friend, Gig (Tim Roth), who owns a strip joint. Gig arranges a robbery of the snowmobile showroom, but that goes wrong. So he suggests to Russ that perhaps Russ's girlfriend Crystal (Lisa Kudrow), who goes on camera in a ball gown each week to select the winning lottery numbers, might just be persuaded to help make sure that the numbers she picks are the ones they pick.
Is It Any Good?
Director Nora Ephron, best known for writing and directing sparkly romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle, goes for a darker kind of comedy in LUCKY NUMBERS. She gets terrific performances from a first-rate cast, especially Bill Pullman as a lazy police officer. Russ and Crystal behave like people who know for sure that they were meant to be rich, and are getting increasingly annoyed that somehow the message never got across.
But Ephron is a long way from the Coen brothers. She has some sharp insights about the ambitions and strategies of her characters and there are some very funny moments, a sort of "Maltese Falcon" on acid, but ultimately it does not work.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why the money is important to the characters and how they calculate their risks. Movies about crime are always in some sense movies about problem-solving, and it is worth pointing out the way that the characters respond to the initial challenge of figuring out a way to sabotage the lottery and to the subsequent problems that they did not anticipate. Families may also want to talk about why people do and do not obey the law and what the consequences are for themselves and society if they don't.
- In theaters: October 27, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: March 20, 2001
- Cast: Bill Pullman, John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow
- Director: Nora Ephron
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexuality, some drug use and brief violence
- Last updated: March 1, 2023
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Where to Watch
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