1.5 out of 5 stars (one of the worst of the year)
I walked into Logan Lucky expecting to be entertained by a breezy crime comedy. Brought to us by Steven Soderbergh (the man behind the hit-and-miss Oceans trilogy), Lucky has the potential to be in that vein; fast, funny dialogue combined with charismatic performances. Unfortunately, Luck is not in the cards this time, as I witnessed a film turn from vaguely interesting to completely banal over the course of its criminally bloated running time. I went into the film expecting a fun ride (especially given the unbelievably high critical reception), but came out having sat through a cinematic endurance test. The trailer below is one of the most misleading pieces of marketing I’ve ever seen, but this is what they promised us:
The story follows Jimmy and Clyde Logan (an unconvincing Channing Tatum and Adam Driver), two brothers who attempt to rob a NASCAR speedway after life throws them bad hands. I can only guess their reasons for doing this are monetary, as Jimmy was just laid off his construction job for ridiculous reasons, and Clyde is easily convinced. I don’t know their motivation behind this because the movie chooses to indulge in frustratingly irrelevant conversations in place of character development early on, a warning sign I seriously should have heeded.
Anyway, since Clyde and Jimmy are as adept at robbery as I am about paying taxes, they enlist the help of “quirky” inmate Joe Bang (an embarrassingly stoned-looking Daniel Craig) and his dimwitted associates on the outside. They will have to break Joe out of the prison, pull off the heist, and get him back in before anyone notices. Interspersed with this are unnecessary scenes of Jimmy being a good dad to his daughter (Newcomer Farrah Mackenzie) who has a beauty pageant coming up. Because I totally want to see a little girls’ beauty pageant in the middle of my summer heist movie. Don’t you?
This movie has gained a lot of press for being the supposedly triumphant return of Steven Soderbergh after he announced retirement a few years ago. If this is what he came out of retirement for, then I suggest he return to it immediately. His camerawork is overindulgent to the point of hilarity, filling the movie with shots that last forever and serve no purpose to the story. For example, one shot sees Jimmy walking down a street and drinking some water, following him as if something big or important will occur, but nothing does. Other instances include needless shots of NASCAR vehicles before a big race (that take up about 3 minutes), and one embarrassingly odd shot of Daniel Craig drinking water from a faucet like a horse for what felt like 2 and a half minutes. A director can only do as well as the script they’re given, but this film needed about 45 minutes left on the cutting room floor. I’m not saying it would have been a good movie, but it certainly would have been less painful.
Lastly, the performances here are absolutely forgettable. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver lack brotherly chemistry and sound bored out of their minds. Craig (who has somehow received acclaim for his performance) has never been worse than he is here. His accent is cartoonishly overdone and his delivery becomes steadily irritating. Everyone who thought he was awful in Cowboys & Aliens(which I actually liked) will be apologizing for that after this disaster.
Logan Lucky completely shatters its potential as a fun summer flick by a bloated running time, unengaging performances, and an unfocused script that strands its normally dependable players in a sea of mediocrity. Count yourself Lucky I took this bullet, dear reader, for now, you won’t have to.
Rated PG-13 for Language and, I cannot believe I have to write this, Some Crude Comments. Crude comments? Really?
This title is available on Amazon here