It’s difficult to tell what went so wrong with Lucky You that its journey from completion to distribution would require two years. Maybe it had something to do with the lack of heat generated in love scenes between the ever-peppy Drew Barrymore and the terminally stressed-out Eric Bana. (As a boyfriend, Bana was a heck of a poker player.) Or, perhaps, writer-director Curtis Hanson (LA Confidential) simply was the victim of a distributor not savvy enough to strike while the poker craze was hot.
Bana plays a championship-level poker player and son of a two-time winner of the World Series of Poker (Robert Duvall). Naturally, there’s lots of emotional baggage between the two men, and they’ll eventually butt heads on the final table of the WSOP. Hanson gets around that cliché by enlisting a tournament’s worth of actual poker players to make the faces look realistic and asking Doyle Brunson to serve as an adviser. In an interview included on the DVD, Hanson says he didn’t want to give poker nerds an opportunity to nitpick every raise and call. To this end, he put the film’s romantic storyline on the back burner and focused on the drama of tournament play. The featurettes are unusually informative and entertaining, as is a soundtrack that includes music by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Presley and Madeleine Peyroux.