Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Lucky You

posted by jmiller
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual humor.
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Non-explicit sexual situation
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking
Violence/Scariness:Some peril and violence, emotional confrontations
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:2007

Maybe if it had been made in the 1940’s or 50’s in black and white, maybe if it starred Frank Sinatra and Lee Remick, maybe if we had never seen better films like “The Hustler,” maybe this script might have worked. But today it just seems formulaic and out of date. As a poker hand, it’s not even a pair of deuces.

<P
Huck (Eric Bana) is a poker player. He has a lot of natural skill and a lot of experience. His weakness is that at the big moment he does not go by the book. Sometimes that means a good decision based on intuition. Other times it means a bad decision based on anger. He understands the concept of "left pocket money," your "real" money that can't be bet. But when the moment comes, he bets not only his left pocket money but everyone else's too.


Huck lives in Las Vegas, where the world series of poker is about to start. He needs to qualify for a seat and he needs to have the $10,000 entry fee. The first part of the movie is about whether he will make it — not much suspense there, as we wouldn’t have a movie if he did. Then we have the tournament itself. In most movies in this genre, our young hero must take on a father-figure, an Oedipal metaphor, the champion, the establishment guy, the man our hero both looks up to and longs to triumph over. It is emblematic of this movie’s absence of subtlety or complexity that in this case the father-figure is in fact Huck’s literal father, English professor-turned professional gambler Robert Duvall, who insists on calling his son “Huckleberry.” (The English professor background suggests the name is inspired by Finn, not Hound.)


And there must be The Girl, in this case Billie, played by Drew Barrymore, still the effervescent flower child, even as a brunette, but who cannot and should not sing. It was okay in “Music and Lyrics,” where she was not supposed to be a good singer. Here, it is a performance that cries out for Simon Cowell. She and Bana have no chemistry, a real problem when their supposed overwhelming attraction and powerful connection is expected to not just capture our attention but justify most of the decisions and developments throughout the movie.


The movie’s one great strength is a brief appearance by Robert Downey, Jr. as a friend of Huck’s who answers a variety of 900-number calls while he sits at a bar and refuses to loan Huck money. As he juggles the calls on his cell phones, the conversations a witty counterpoint to his dialogue with Huck, the movie briefly comes alive. But all too quickly, his scene is over and we’re stuck watching people play cards. You gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em — in this movie, the wise viewer will toss in his cards as soon as Downey’s scene is over.

Parents should know that this movie has some strong language and some sexual references and a non-explicit situation. Characters smoke and drink. The movie includes a lot of bad behavior including lying and stealing and a discussion of cheating, plus excessive and possibly compulsive gambling and some peril and violence.

Families who see this movie should talk about the significance of the ring. What did Huck decide was most important?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy The Hustler and the sequel, The Color of Money. Rounders has Matt Damon and Edward Norton as poker players. Families will also enjoy a true story about the world series of poker, Positively Fifth Street.



Previous Posts

Unfinished Business
"Unfinished Business" is a story about three renegade renegades from bureaucracy going up against The Man and the importance of the individual in an era of soul-grinding corporatism. But the mo

posted 5:59:57pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Chappie
So, basically, no one here saw "Terminator." Or "Frankenstein." But maybe they did see "Robocop?" Or "Short Circuit?" Writer/director Neill Blomkamp likes sci-fi allegories of social and political conf

posted 5:59:11pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
A documentary called "Young at Heart" had a choir of singers in their 80's performing contemporary rock songs.  The very fact of their age and experience gave an unexpectedly profound meaning to the words.  And in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a plot that ranges from silly to very silly

posted 5:55:14pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Merchants of Doubt
Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer?  That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General's report showing the adverse health effects of cig

posted 5:30:43pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

MVP of the Week: Dev Patel
British-born actor Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Newsroom) is competing with himself this week as the star of two big releases. In the sequel "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" h

posted 3:38:30pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.