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Lucky numbers

Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

When they put their heads together... it's a no brainer.

John Travolta stars as Russ Richards, a TV weather man and local celebrity who's on the verge of losing his shirt. Desperate to escape his financial ruin, Russ schemes with Crystal Latroy (Lisa Kudrow), the TV station's Lotto ball girl, to rig the state lottery draw.

Also starring Bill Pullman, Ed O'Neill, Chris Kattan, Lisa Boyle, Daryl Mitchell, Michael Moore, Michael Rapaport, Michael Weston and Tim Roth. Directed by Nora Ephron.

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

When they make a film like this... it's a no brainer.

In an attempt at loser crim comedy, the producers of Lucky numbers have assembled a cast of unhappy characters with nothing in common and forced each one to have a relationship with at least two of the others. The tangled web theory says that at least one of those relationships will be worth making a film about. But it's only a theory and the law of averages says that no matter how many webs you weave at least one of them won't catch any flies. Laws beat theories hands down, leaving Lucky numbers with a whole lot of empty web. Kind of like Billy Tyne's fishing net.

Nora Ephron, who brought you deep and meaningful cinema classics like Hanging up and You've got mail, goes the soft option once again and turns a potential Lock, stock and two smoking barrels into a, well, a Lucky numbers. Casting John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow locks the film right into the middle class, the most boring and bland group of people ever born. The actors' acting ability has never been more than middle class, either. Talk about a deadly combination. With a supporting cast of mostly B-actors, Lucky numbers needs a Lotto help to get off the ground. It doesn't get it.

Michael does a nice little advertisement for forced sterilisation but I really do wonder what Tim Roth is doing in this flick. Not only is his role a cliché but so is his acting. Maybe he needed the money. Maybe he wanted the chance to work with John. Whatever, it wasn't worth the price he pays in creditability.

See Lucky numbers only if you've seen everything else already. Twice.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level coarse language)

Surveillance time

106 minutes (1:46 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 21 September 2001
DVD rental: 8 March 2002
VHS rental: 8 March 2002

Cinema surveillance images

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