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Review for Gil Cates Jr.’s “Lucky”

Lucky is a dark romantic comedy due to hit theaters sometime next year.  It features the acting talents of Colin Hanks, Ari Graynor, Ann Margaret, and Jeffrey Tambor (Hey Now!)

Lucy St. Martin (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’s Ari Graynor) is a receptionist working for a middle-sized accounting firm.  She is ambitious and eager to advance her monetary and social status by sleeping with Steve (Adam Harrington), one of the company’s up and coming young executives.  Basically, for lack of a better term, she is a gold digger.

Ben Keller (Colin Hanks) is a co-worker of Lucy’s.  He enjoys Lucy’s company and has pined for her since they were young children, but she can’t stand him.  Then, the unexpected happens, Lucy’s dream executive breaks up with her, and Ben hits the Iowa State Lottery for 36-million dollars.  Ben is content with his life the way it was.  Keeping a low profile is something he is comfortable doing, because he is a budding serial killer.

Now that Ben’s fortunes have changed, Lucy throws herself at him.  She is domineering and overbearing and enjoys spending his money.  It is a goal she has spent her life trying to achieve.  Ben is smitten with her and proposes.  She accepts, and he readily sweeps her off her feet, and takes her to Hawaii for their honeymoon. Lucy submits to Ben on their wedding night and they consummate the marriage.

Within a day, things sour between them; Ben tells Lucy the money has run out for this period’s payment of the lotto winnings.  Feeling humiliated, Lucy yells at Ben, and then locks herself in the bathroom.  This triggers a deviant urge in Ben, and he kills a hotel employee delivering towels in an adjacent unoccupied suite.  Sneaking out of the hotel room, Lucy walks down the hall to find Ben in the midst of finishing off his victim.  Unnoticed, Lucy hides under the bed and watches Ben leave.  In the midst of a quandary, Lucy must decide on weather to call the police or clean up after her husband and continue to enjoy the high life.  She decides to assist her husband in order to collect his lottery winnings, but things only go from bad to worse.

“Saturday Night Live” writer Kent Sublett co-writes the screenplay with director Gil Cates, Jr. (“Pass the Sugar” and “Deal.”) Cates also re-teams with producer and Ten/Four co-founder Caitlin Murney (“Order of Chaos.”)  Colin Hanks does an excellent job as the low key, obsessive, and subtlety disturbed Ben.  Ari Graynor does peg her performance as the greedy Lucy.  She carries a lot of the film with a natural comedic talent, and could be compared to a young Barbara Streisand or Sandra Bullock.  The cast is rounded out with Ann Margaret as Ben’s mother, and Jeffery Tambor as the ill-fated Detective Waylon.  This is a funny, and entertaining film well-worth watching.

“Lucky” has not been rated, but will probably get an R rating for violence and sexual situations.