A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this isn't a typical bright and bubbly Drew Barrymore romantic comedy. While there's not much sex or violence, there's plenty of antisocial behavior and compulsive gambling. One character runs a telephone scam, while others live in bathrooms to win bets. The main character steals his girlfriend's money and gambles away someone else's. He also encourages his girlfriend to lie and cheat for him. Goons looking to collect on his debts throw him into an empty pool, where he scrapes up his face. Some swearing and drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Huck (Eric Bana) is a second-generation professional poker player looking to win the next hand. But he can't seem to keep from showing off, "blasting" his competition until he's penniless, hocking stolen goods and his late mother's wedding ring. When a big competition comes to Vegas -- along with his estranged superstar poker player dad L.C. (Robert Duvall) and aspiring singer Billie (Drew Barrymore) -- Huck tries to show that he's finally grown up. But can he win the competition, his father's love, and Billie's heart?
Is it any good?
LUCKY YOU is a bad bet, full of saccharine platitudes, endless poker scenes, and almost no chemistry between any of the characters. (Part of the problem is that the movie's theatrical release was delayed more than a year, which didn't make its poker-centric plot any fresher.) You know televised poker showdowns have truly saturated pop culture when one is the central theme of a Hollywood movie starring America's sweetheart Barrymore and great actors like Duvall and Robert Downey Jr.
The predictability of the answer is almost nauseating. It's almost like Lucky You is trying to be a less-interesting, poker-focused version of The Color of Money. None of the characters are very well developed or well written, and non-poker players will watch the epic card-game scenes with boredom. In the end, none of Lucky You's characters, save for Duvall's debonair gambler, are likeable. Say what you will about Tom Cruise's scenery-chewing bravado in Color of Money, but at least there's some energy there. Bana's performance is too subtle to keep viewers' interest for two whole hours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the media's fascination with poker. Is it fun to watch people gambling? Why? Do you think there's some voyeurism involved? The movie's theatrical release date was delayed several times, making its poker-centric storyline less of the moment and timely -- does that affect how much you do or don't enjoy it? How are release dates determined to begin with? Who decides when the "best" time to put something in theaters is, and how does that affect a movie's success or failure? Families can also discuss gambling addiction. Do you agree with Huck when he says that he's not hurting anyone but himself? What would you do in his situation?
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