Thursday, 30 April 2015

Lucky Them: Film Review

Lucky Them: Film Review

Cast: Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold
Director: Megan Griffiths

Musos will get a kick out of this flick which set the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival abuzz.

Toni Collette plays Ellie, a music critic in her 40s who has a penchant for reviewing and sleeping with the talent as she works the Seattle scene for dying magazine Stax.

Ellie's never really gotten over the apparent suicide of her then musician boyfriend Matthew Smith - but that wound's opened by her editor (a quietly seething Oliver Platt, whose top dog is railing against the dying world of the music mag) who requests a 10 year on piece on the mysterious death.

Following rumours that Smith isn't dead and looking into sources, Ellie's befriended by wise-cracking Thomas Haden Church's Charlie, a rich but bored man, who decides his documentary classes mean he could film the whole thing.

So, against her will, the duo begin to look into Smith's apparent AWOL search with unpredictable results.

Lucky Them suffers from a kind of funk that settles on the piece early on.

It's not Collette's fault that Lucky Them has little going for it in terms of script, with many moments feeling too random and distracting from the ongoing story. Equally, Haden Church's continual quips tend to irritate after a while, and Collette's slightly distracted acting touch convinces us of her malaise to life around her.

Unfortunately though, the end result is that we subsequently don't feel attached or remotely care to anything going on as it transpires. Granted, you could argue it's part of the film's charm, but Griffiths doesn't seem to know what she wants to settle on - is it romantic drama with Ellie and her musician boyfriend, is it mystery that has a personal touch or is it road movie comedy with Haden Church's continual deadpan moments?

The final blend of Lucky Them means that a last act denouement and surprise appearance feels all too low key - perhaps, it's a delicious irony that the apathy and malaise affecting Ellie means that when the end comes, the moment that's supposed to uplift us feels like a deflated balloon.

Lucky Them is by no means a disaster, it's just it's not a sentiment felt by the audience who endure the escapades, rather than revel in them.


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