Lucky Numbers


Directed by: Nora Ephron
Written by:Adam Resnick
Starring: John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow, Tim Roth, Ed O'Neill, Michael Rapaport, Daryl Mitchell, Bill Pullman
Released: February 8, 2001
Grade: C

You'd think the latest film from director Nora Ephron would have opened with more fanfare on a stream of multiplexes and with a wave of advertising.  Her films include Sleepless In Seattle, Michael and You've Got Mail which all grossed over $95m in the United States alone.  Strange indeed to see a film starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow sneak by and show for only a few weeks.  The mystery was solved once I saw this awful film.  It cost $65m to make and barely passed the $10m box-office mark in the States.  I'm surprised to see the film even released in Australia.

John Travolta is Russ Richards, a weatherman for a local news station.  Everyone seems to love him, including himself.  The money is good but he keeps blowing it on ridiculous business ventures.  His latest sees him open a snow mobile store only to see an unseasonably warm winter keep the snow away.  He's now flat broke and with the bank foreclosing on his lavish house, he's willing to try anything.

With the help of strip-club owner Gig (Roth) and lover Crystal (Kudrow), they devise a scheme to rig the local lottery and walk away with the $6.4m jackpot.  Amazingly, the plan works perfectly but the troubles don't arise until after the lotto has been won.  It seems there are many in the loop and all want a "fair" share of the loot.  With everything from blackmail to beatings, the upper hand keeps changing and just who is going to end up with the actual winning ticket?

It's not a particularly interesting idea and would have a better 10 minute short film because there is not enough material to make it stretch into a full feature.  The final half-hour was nuts as the film spiralled out of control.  Travolta's performance is woeful and his character’s smugness is so annoying.  Travolta seems like he's on autopilot.  The only decent cast member was Bill Pullman as a lethargic cop but the film is long gone by the time he makes his entrance.

It never got started and never went anywhere.  A few funny gags but there's little else to laugh about in this comedy.  Those unfortunate enough to see it won't feel very "lucky" at all.