Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, Robert Duvall, Phyllis Somerville, Horatio Sanz
Director: Curtis Hanson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Ante up for a sure entertainment bet from L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson, who co-wrote this charmer with fellow Academy Award winner Eric Roth (Forrest Gump). Pro gambler Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) meets irresistib... more »
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Marla R. (Marla-R) from SEDALIA, MO
Reviewed on 2/16/2012...
Set in 2003, Huck Cheever is a young and talented poker player in Las Vegas haunted by his relationship with his estranged father, L.C. Cheever, a two-time World Series of Poker Champion. Huck is a regular in Vegas poker rooms but needs $10,000 to get a seat in the World Series of Poker Main Event.
After a good night at the Bellagio hotel's poker room, Huck goes to a party and meets aspiring singer Billie Offer, who has just arrived in town. Billie's older sister Suzanne warns her that Huck is "hustle 10, commitment zero." Back at the Bellagio, Huck is doing well at the tables before L.C. returns to town from the South of France. Huck greets his father coldly. The two play heads-up.
Loan shark Roy Durucher tells Huck that he plays poker as well as anybody, except for his reputation as a "blaster" (not patient enough) who always goes for broke. Roy proposes to stake Huck in the $10,000 main-event with a 60% (Roy) — 40% (Huck) split of any winnings, but Huck refuses. After failing to borrow money from his friend Jack, Huck goes to Suzanne's place hoping for a loan. Instead he runs into Billie, who gets a call confirming that she has landed a job singing at a club.
Huck proposes a celebration and at Binion's Horseshoe he shows her how to play poker. L.C. arrives and shows Huck a wedding ring of Huck's late mother's that Huck had pawned and that L.C. has redeemed. Huck loses his winnings. Over dinner, he explains to Billie that his father stole from his mother before leaving her. Huck says his father taught him how to play on the kitchen table with "pennies, nickels, and dimes." They make love after dinner. As Billie sleeps, Huck steals money from Billie's purse.
Huck plays in a "super satellite" for his entry to the main event. He appears to have the seat won, but a misdeal costs him. Roy agrees to stake Huck and even gives him an extra $1200 so that he can repay Billie. He apologizes to her, saying he feels they have a chance at something special. They later run into L.C., who wins all of Huck's stake money for the World Series in a quick poker game.
This is a sweet movie and of course the ending is just as sweet, it is worth the watch!
Eric Bana is the best "Knight in Shining Armor" And Drew Barrymore is the best "Princess". This is not the first movie these two have been in together. Check out "Everafter" for a A+ romanatic movie also.
Stephanie S. (SAMM) from LOUISVILLE, KY
Reviewed on 8/22/2009...
Great movie. Robert Duvall plays his professional gambling dead beat dad role seamlessly. Eric Bana's portayal of a struggling professional gambler with a Duvall sized chip on his shoulder couldn't have been better. However, Drew Barrymore's "scorned woman" attempt leaves something to be desired (not to mention her failed attempt to be Billie Holiday.) But, in my humble opinion, Duvall and Bana's efforts far exceed what Barrymore's lacks.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Reviewed on 9/15/2008...
I'm no way a romance fan and I enjoyed this movie becuz it was very light on romance. I think since this movie bombed, they changed the cover to appeal to women. But I liked the story, the poker scene at the end was very intriging. I was anxious to see how it was all gonna play out. Theres some funny scenes, like with Robert Downey Jr. playing his usual sarcastic self. I think guys would like this movie too. A few real poker stars have cameos in the big tournament at the end. I say its watchable especially if you like Eric Bana.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
"Must be tough playing in the shadow of your father"
Sebastian Fernandez | Tampa, Florida United States | 10/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great time to come out with a movie about poker, since the sport has taken off at supersonic speed with amateurs winning the main event of the World Series in the last few years and people following the action on ESPN. The main problem I see with this movie though is that in an effort to be original it runs into unreal situations like a misdeal followed by a huge bad beat, or a close call to end a contrived bet.
The plot is fairly typical, a poker pro, Huck Cleever, trying to make it to the World Series of poker and win the main event. In the process, he meets a girl that shakes his world and makes him rethink his priorities. The added complication is that he is the son of a two-time winner of the event, and the son-father relationship has been in tatters for a long time. During his quest, Huck experiences huge swings in his luck, and this provides an enlightening view of what the life of a professional gambler can be like.
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 romance, long on the intricacies of poker
Samuel McKewon | Lincoln, NE | 05/28/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Lucky You" is a tutorial in professional poker. The strategy. The company. And, most importantly for any movie that chooses to invest in its subject - the nature of it. The screenplay - written by Eric Roth and director Curtis Hanson - charts the heartbeat of an addicted gambler, a pulse that mirrors that of a cocaine user: Joyous leaps and races punctuated by moments when the flow of blood almost stops completely.
It strips some of the manly sweat away from the craft, too. The movie lacks the histrionics and black drama of, say, "Rounders," in part because "Rounders" is a myth, born of the idea men have about the wars of personality going on at a poker table. "Lucky You" has its clashes, for sure, and its cliches, too, but they lack blarney and false bravado. Here, poker is risk management. Actuarial work. And it makes sense.
Eric Bana turns in a committed performance as Huck Cheever, a Las Vegas poker player - he dabbles in other ridiculous bets of chance, cards, and athletic skill, but is careful never to play "the house" - whose attitude might best be likened to golfer Phil Mickelson. Huck fires for the pin on nearly every hand, overshoots the cards, and never seems to get the river when he needs it most. It's not that Huck doesn't see the angles - he chooses to obliterate them. Again and again. That's how he ends up with an empty house whose deed is held by a sports gambler watching seven televisions at once, including Australian basketball.
The movie opens with Huck pawning his mother's ring, in an effort to get a $10,000 stake in the World Series of Poker. He'll win it that $10,000, then he'll lose it, win it, lose it. His shifting fortune will involve a lounge singer new to Vegas named Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore). As her own character, Billie, seemingly naïve but oddly full of rectitude, is ill-defined. As a mirror held up to Huck's unshaven face, she would be effective if Barrymore, a sunny, buoyant actor unsuited to the moral compromises of Sin City, weren't playing her. "Lucky You" tries on romance but never makes it fit very well.
Better are the father/son dynamics between Huck and his father L.C. (Robert Duvall), a revered champion for whom Huck has unmitigated disdain. There are no surprises in their absent chemistry - L.C. was a deadbeat dad, Huck developed into a deadbeat, in general - but their scenes, especially one in a diner over several games of Guts, are fiercely written. Duvall still knows how to massage a monologue with his halting speech patterns; he uses a comic's understanding of a punchline to create a lizard of a man, down his slicked mat of hair plugs. L.C. sees himself as a Picasso of cards, an artist who sense his "time" of heightened skills is drawing to a close.
Thing is, Huck still has the nose.
For what? The mood of a hand. The unspoken momentum of it. The smell of winning and money. "Lucky You" has no prideful illusions about poker - if anything, it sticks its talons hard into the idea of "manning up" - but it still injects an air of tension and romance into its many poker hands. However misguided or addictive the behavior might be, most of the players in the movie show a love (or at least a healthy lust) for the craft; only Huck seems bent on something greater than victory. Michael Shannon and Jean Smart are especially effective in smaller as two of Huck's competitors, but the credit can be spread around; using several actors from "8 Mile," director Hanson asks for hunger and mild desperation, and he gets it from them.
Hanson's camera is equally nuanced. This is no Vegas glamour pic; we are spared helicopter dollies of The Strip. The candy lights blink in the background of many scenes, but the characters are not enamored or gob smacked by the scene, including Billie. This is a movie of people who live here, and work here, and it is long past excitement. Such honesty about the city - and the willpower to resist it becoming a character of its own - is refreshing.
Aside from Billie, the movie's weakness is a nearly endless final act that covers the World Series of Poker, not since Stallone's "Over The Top" - I'm semi-serious here - has a movie been so committed to introducing new characters in the final thirty minutes like video game bosses, then placing a miniature story arc on their fortunes. The movie's two twists are easily spotted before they unfold and the "resolution," as it were, seems a little dishonest, if morally tidy.
Nevertheless, "Lucky You" has a surprising amount of integrity, and Bana delivers a smooth, like-him-loathe-him performance, equal parts intelligence and ego. He only missteps when he has to make eyes at Barrymore. Funny that Roth and Hanson have a romantic angle for commercial appeal, only to have the movie shelved and dumped on the same weekend of the largest opening in film history ("Spider-Man 3")."
Flawed but Surprisingly Entertaining...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 01/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you aren't a fan of high-stakes poker, or the gambling lifestyle, in general, Curtis Hanson's "Lucky You" may seem a 'bad bet', particularly as a romantic vehicle for Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore; but if you enjoy the rush of the game, and the Vegas lifestyle, circa 2003, this one is a keeper!
While the film lacks the intensity of "The Cincinnati Kid", "The Gambler", or "The Rounders", or loopy reality of "California Split", I'd still rank it among the better films about gambling, simply because of Hanson's non-apologetic approach to the subject, and respect for the practitioners (with many real-life gamblers appearing in the various match-ups). As the estranged son of a poker legend (Robert Duvall, who is, as always, superb), Eric Bana is quite convincing as a gifted, if headstrong gambler, for whom money, anyone's money, is simply a tool to ply his trade. He has a code of ethics, but ultimately, being in the game is the most important thing in his life, which puts him into romantic jeopardy when he (unconvincingly) falls for innocent aspiring singer Drew Barrymore. Needless to say, he learns that life isn't only about the next pot, but his moments with her are the least believable aspect of the film.
On the plus side, poker, Vegas-style, is portrayed lovingly, with quirky characters, venues unique to themselves, and an adrenaline rush that never ends. It isn't the glamorous 'Never Never Land' of TV's "Vegas", but a continuing stage for fortunes to be won and lost, and won, again, where novice gamblers fuel the cashflow for seasoned pros. Hanson 'scores' here, and as a Vegas resident, I can honestly say he captures the city's spirit, perfectly!
The Special Features of the DVD are quite wonderful, with insights by professional poker players, and an understandable explanation of the vagaries of poker ("The best hand doesn't always win, it's how the hand is played").
All-in-all, "Lucky You" doesn't deliver a big jackpot, but is certainly a winning hand!