We all dream of winning the lottery. We all know that one special thing we would do with the money once we get it, whether it’s buy a house, remodel one, buy a car or something more practical like pay off any sort of debt. The one thing for certain is that your life would change. In Lucky, meek Ben Keller (Colin Hanks) gets the girl of his dreams (and murderous hallucinations) with the winning lottery ticket he stumbled upon.


Ben and Lucy (Ari Graynor) have been friends since they were kids. He has always loved her; she has always ignored him. For Lucy, her life is somewhat unstable. She is constantly making rash decisions without any thought about consequences and moves from fake relationship to fake relationship. After winning the lottery from a ticket his mother found in their house, Ben is finally noticed by the money-hungry Lucy. She decides to marry him in order to get one of the checks and run. That is, until she finds out Ben is a serial killer. Ben happens to be so in love with Lucy that he envisions her face on other aesthetically similar women and kills them in bitterness for the love he cannot have. Upon discovering this dark secret, Lucy begins slipping into insanity trying to cover his murders long enough to get the money and run.

The film is billed as focusing on Ben’s struggle getting noticed and subsequent murders, but Lucy ends up being the star of the movie. This happens due to Hanks’ modest personality allowing Graynor’s wild emotions to overshadow him. If you have seen the most recent season of Dexter, you know Ben’s character very well. If not, here’s what you need to know: he is quiet, unassuming and fiercely devoted to one thing (here it is Lucy), until his true self is discovered and he becomes supremely confident and exudes swagger typically reserved for multiple-episode CSI killers. Yet, in Lucky this change doesn’t make the same sense it does in Dexter. Ben is so shy and socially irrelevant that the acquisition of a self-esteem has no place in the film.

The serial killer storyline is, initially, the focus of the film, but then is largely ignored until much later. The majority of the film is Ben doting on Lucy’s every wish and desire until they run out of the first installment of money. This drags on for longer than it should, which makes the murderous reprieve less enthusiastic (even the hilarious Jeffrey Tambor looked bored as the lead detective). The build-up is by no means boring or uninteresting, to be fair, but it does take longer than expected and makes you wonder what the film is truly about.

These are just a few instances of baffling choices made by director Gil Cates Jr. The climax, while original, leaves something to be desired. The slow fall into pure insanity for Lucy is confusing at best and never fully manifests. No matter what happens, there is always a feeling that a vital piece of information or scene is missing. Others have Lucky as a “the lengths we go for love” film, but I tend to believe it is more a “the way money changes you” film.

Lucky no doubt will keep you intrigued until the end because, up until the last ten minutes, the result is completely wide open. Hanks and Graynor are charming in their own ways, even if Lucy’s foolishness gets tiring. Lucky had all the potential to be a great film, but fails to include that final crucial piece.

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