Runtime: 124 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Director: Curtis Hanson
Release Date: 05/04/07
Cast: Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, and Robert Duvall
Lucky You, released in 2007, is a poker lovers dream. Unfortunately, it was advertised as the next love story of our time-a romance between heartthrobs Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore. This misrepresentation led to some very disgruntled fans. Had the film been promoted as what it truly is-a feature film about poker for poker fanatics, it may have been received more positively.
Lucky You tells the story of Huck Cheever, played by Eric Bana. Huck is uncontrollably obsessed with gambling and plays poker for a living. The World Series of Poker is coming up and Huck needs to come up with $10,000 to enter the main event. He gambles, borrows and even steals to get the money, which he loses, regains and loses again.
In the meantime, Huck meets Billie, an aspiring singer played by Drew Barrymore. Billie’s sister warns her that Huck is trouble-he is a gambling addict with no history or future chances of commitment. However, Billie has a weakness for guys who need “fixing” and we follow the pair’s journey as a couple. Huck teaches Billie about Texas Hold’em, borrows and steals from her and apologizes time after time to her for his shortcomings and problems.
Huck’s estranged father L.C. Cheever, played by Robert Duvall, also appears on the scene. He’s come to play in the World Series of Poker as well, which makes it even more important for Huck to find the $10,000 to enter. Huck and his father have a lot of issues to work out, and they do over a number of poker games and conversations.
Although Lucky You follows Huck’s relationships with Billie and his father, the plot is basic and is really just a cover for a feature film consisting of poker match after poker match. If you are in the mood for romance then this can be a huge disappointment. However, if you are a die-hard poker fan then Lucky You is one of the best films out there. It’s sort of like watching a movie all about golf if you don’t have any interest in the sport-in order to enjoy Lucky You, you need to live for poker.
Lucky You has cameo performances by a number of big time poker players, who would be unrecognizable to anyone who isn’t a huge poker fan. Sam Farha, Chau Giang, Barry Greenstein, Jason Lester, Ted Forrest, Minh Ly, John Murphy, Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu all make appearances in the film. The poker scenes are so compelling at times that the scenes with Drew Barrymore may be a bore to many poker enthusiasts, waiting to see more of the game.
Many critics think that Lucky You screenwriter Eric Roth, writer of Forest Gump, Munich, and The Good Shepherd missed the mark with this film. However, it could be that the advertisers missed the mark with the way the film was promoted. The acting doesn’t miss a beat and the directing and cinematography is top notch. The problem is simply that the movie, which was touted as a romance, is a movie about poker, plain and simple. Poker lovers should not miss it. Romantics, on the other hand, should stick to the chick flicks.