Why movie stars seem to be flocking to the small screen and small indies as well, is in similar ways the reason Lucky Them shines as an offbeat gem, or even exists. The notion of celebs who appear to have it all but may long to fade into obscurity and be just like everybody else again – and pursue what’s meaningful in movies rather than money for a change – could not be more true about Lucky Them. And whether on or off screen.
Toni Collette is Ellie in Lucky Them, a sullen Seattle rock rag journalist approaching midlife crisis, and submerged in a deep funk ever since the mysterious disappearance and possible suicide by drowning of her boyfriend a decade ago, celebrity musician Matthew Smith. Drowning herself in despair and perpetually inebriated with a chaser of younger serial guitar strumming lovers picked up in local trendy bars, Ellie is likewise barely winging it anymore as a columnist at her economically declining publication.
Which in no way goes unnoticed by her peeved editor Giles (Oliver Platt). Who puts the pressure on Ellie to salvage the struggling magazine by pulling off a cover story hunting down Smith – rumored to possibly still be alive and in hiding. With her job on the line, Ellie reluctantly recruits a more than eager Charlie (Thomas Haden Church, fabulously freaky and nearly stealing the show). An eccentric millionaire with whom she once had a brief fling and now rediscovered while bar hopping, Charlie is willing to finance the quest as an adventurous aspiring documentary filmmaker of sorts, who senses a groundbreaking story somewhere or other in all of this. While a decidedly unenthused Ellie sulks and struggles with misery amid awakened memories of Matthew, in pursuit less of her assigned mission than her next drink.
Lucky Them, with its zany collection of colorful characters, concurrently probes scarred emotions and existential angst while nicely blending both the daffy and dark side of life. And troubling issues surrounding the insider looking out ambiguity of fame in modern times, and just how much of the essentials pertaining to existence, get lost in the process.
On some side notes, Joanne Woodward executive produced Lucky Them in memory of her late mate, Paul Newman. And Johnny Depp prefers playing the artful dodger.
3 1/2 out of 4 stars