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Lucky You (2007)
 
Lucky You may be playing a weak hand, but that doesn't mean it's playing a losing game. Plagued by numerous release delays and finally dumped into theaters (against Spider-Man 3) nearly two years after it was completed, Curtis Hanson's low-key and likable poker drama definitely has some problems, like a tepid romantic subplot between costars Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana, but there are some genuine pleasures to be found in this old-school character study.

Best known for his Oscar-nominated direction of L.A. Confidential, Hanson is a staunch defender of Hollywood tradition, and he handles Lucky You with a delicate, John Huston-like touch, trusting the strengths of a character-driven screenplay (by Eric Roth) and the established appeal of a generally well-chosen cast.

Bana plays Huck Cheever, the gambling son of a gambler, who's itching to earn a seat in the World Series of Poker, where he'll play high-stakes Texas Hold-'Em against the world's finest, including his semi-estranged father L.C. (Robert Duvall), with whom Huck has had a turbulent past relationship. They're both compulsive and highly skilled competitors, but their gambling habits don't impress Billie Offer (Barrymore), a decent, good-natured chanteuse who's just arrived in Las Vegas for her first professional nightclub gig.
Lucky You
 
The acting is not particularly inspired, with the exception of Robert Duvall, who plays L.C. Cheever, the father of the protagonist. Duvall infuses his character with the external toughness and inner conflicts that the role requires and is therefore extremely successful in the process. There is a wide array of poker pros taking part in this movie, but most of them have silent roles, the exceptions are Sammy Farha and Jason Lester, who have a couple of lines each. The list of celebrities includes among others Phil Helmut, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson. I did not really understand why a couple of pros play characters with different names, like Jennifer Harman, who plays Shannon Kincaid, or John Hennigan as Ralph Kaczynski.
 
Overall, I think that the idea of the movie was good, but the execution was deficient and the overall quality suffered as a result. For a long time to come, poker movies are going to be evaluated in terms of how they compare to Rounders, and in that sense, this one comes up short. Poker players will probably get some enjoyment from this production, but they should not expect much.

Short on reality and thats all it had going for it - 6/10
Marks : 6/10
Director Curtis Hanson Eric Bana Huck Cheever
Writing Eric Roth et al Drew Barrymore Billie Offer
Cinematography Peter Deming Robert Duvall L. C. Cheever
    Robert Downey Jr. Telephone Jack
 
 
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