From The Cincinnati Kid to Casino Royale, a game of cards with heavy emotional stakes can make for high tension cinema, but auteur Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential, The Wonder Boys, 8 Mile, In Her Shoes) loads the decks far too heavily in Lucky You. Las Vegas card-shark Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) is a compulsive gambler, but the increased self-esteem he gets from his romance with lounge singer Billie (Drew Barrymore) is challenged when a big game comes up involving his poker legend father LC Cheever (Robert Duvall).
Hanson’s generic versatility looks increasingly like talented hackwork in this carelessly constructed drama. It’s hobbled not only by Bana’s tightly wound but unsympathetic performance but also co-star Barrymore playing fizzy and innocent when she should be hardened and cynical. Her presence at least provides Hanson with a device to explain the rules of the game, but there’s too much father-son sentimentality in Eric Munich Roth’s script for anyone to be left with a winning hand. A cynical shrug of a movie.