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by Willie Waffle

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Lucky You

If you know nothing about Texas Hold ‘Em poker and don’t care to, make sure the other people in the audience don’t hear you snoring through the movie's 5 million poker playing scenes.  By the fifth All In, I wanted All Out. 

Set in the classic, carefree, olde tyme days of 2003, Eric Bana stars as Huck – a talented professional poker player in debt, desperately trying to qualify for the World Series of Poker (with a $2.5 Million prize) and dealing with his legendary Dad, LC (Robert Duvall), and their strained relationship.  Of course, he also meets a woman, Billie (Drew Barrymore), who challenges him to improve himself and his ways. 

Can Huck get it together before it is too late?

Maybe someone in the Warner Brothers’ marketing department thought it was a great idea to take a man’s sport like poker and cross pollinate it with a movie about feelings, love and familial relations, so men and women would want to see Lucky You together.  Maybe that someone is getting fired this week. 

Lucky You is horribly boring, banal, and breathtakingly lifeless.  Director/co-writer Curtis Hanson and co-writer Eric Roth seem to want us to like the characters because they are cute looking, or because we inherently know who the heroes are supposed to be, but that’s not enough.  We get some passing scenes trying to explain the dysfunctional relationship between LC and Huck, and a little bit about some sort of family falling out years before, but nothing that is memorable or compelling. 

Then, the love story between Billie and Huck seems to be based on nothing but Billie’s possibly lustful eye for a bad boy, and a desire to rebel against the sister who warns her to stay away from Huck.  If everyone was 20 years younger, and one of them was Patrick Swayze or James Dean, maybe that movie would be passable for those under 18 years old as a traditional teen rebellion movie, but Lucky You is trying to appeal to older people, like me, who will need more. 

Sadly, Bana, Duvall and Barrymore can’t save the movie from making you wish you bought your tickets for Spider-Man 3 online before it sold out.  Bana and Barrymore have no chemistry together, as all of the actors perform as if told to act like they don’t have a pulse 90% of the time.  A poker face is handy in Vegas, but not in Hollywood movies. 

Supposedly tense showdowns fall flat.  The relationship stuff never grabs your heart and shakes up your emotions, and no character makes enough noise to wake up the crowd. 

0 Waffles (Out Of 4)   

Lucky You is rated PG-13 for some language and sexual humor. 

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