John Travolta's career was running high until he met a small bump in the road, called Battlefield Earth, that sent him face-first into the ground. He hasn't had a blockbuster hit since, and that includes Lucky Numbers, a dark comedy about making money the old fashioned way, by cheating the state lottery system.
Travolta is enjoyable enough here as a slightly sleazy but relatively innocent weatherman/snowmobile salesman that is a little down on his luck. To make some quick money, he has his girlfriend help him win the lotto, but things just get more complicated from there. Obviously, Travolta is not as overpowering as in some of his other movies, and at times he seems a little upset that he isn't in a more upscale film. Still, he gets the job done, and it is entertaining to watch.
Lisa Kudrow and Tim Roth co-star. Kudrow I have never been a big fan of and this movie didn't change my mind in the least. Dark comedy just isn't for her, and she doesn't work as the sexy lotto girl. I don't think I will ever see her as anything but Phoebe on "Friends," and that does not bode well for her. Roth does a good job, however, in one of his more normal roles. It's a little less risky than some of his other movies, but that's okay once in a while.
The movie itself unfortunately can be divided into two halves, the first half and the second half. The first half is really well done, with a lot of good dialogue and some entertaining scenes. The second half becomes diluted with unnecessary "action," where the dialogue is put behind more active sequences. It seems as though the writer started penning the script and then halfway through realized that he wasn't quite sure how he wanted to end it, so he made up a bunch of crazy scenarios to get to the ending. The second half of Lucky Numbers is really weak, especially the final twenty minutes, and I was somewhat disappointed by the way the movie all ends up. The only shining gem in the second half is Bill Pullman, who plays a quirky and idiotic cop. He does a really good job in these kind of roles, as seen in Zero Effect.
Lucky Numbers could have been a lot better, and the ending really needed some work, but the movie has a decent script and some funny moments. I wouldn't consider the movie a great use of time, but it isn't a waste of it, either.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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