|Lucky Numbers (2000)
Directed by Nora Ephron
Written by Adam Resnick
Starring: John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow, Tim Roth, Michael Rappaport, Ed O'Neill, Daryl Mitchell, Michael Moore, and of course....
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Well, it seemed like a good idea. A small town weatherman and a ditzy lotto numbers girl conspire to defraud the state of Pennsylvania of a bundle of money by fixing the number balls. Surround them with even more wacky characters, a failed snow mobile business, and the laziest cop in the world and you've got.....
A film that doesn't really know what it's about. It can't decide if it wants to be an out-and-out, belly buster comedy, or a darkly comic vision of a decent guy who is driven to desperate measures.
It's not really all that bad. There are some really funny moments; the story is believeable enough (heck, who hasn't thought of fixing the lottery for a nice payout?); the characters are distinct and there are good performances, particularly from Ed O'Neill & Lisa Kudrow.
The comedy and the darkness reside side by side almost exclusively in our man Bill, who plays Pat, a cop who appears to have lost all enthusiasm for his job. He's first seen figuring out how to scam some time off by using his sick leave. He gets busted and is assigned a missing person case, which is beneath him and a poor use of his detective skills. Then, he disappears for 5 minutes. He turns up in a strip joint to question the owner, Gig, (played by Tim Roth, in a role that is totally beneath his skills); he's interested in the girls (the scene is hilarious!) much to the dismay of his eager-beaver partner.
Bill is great as Pat. He gets some great lines and gets to tap into that cynical, wacky persona that helped establish him early on. Man, he must have had a lot of fun with this one. It shows.
Needless to say, the critics weren't kind to the film. It lasted maybe two weeks in the theatres. But Bill got some nice notices.
Jay Carr (Boston Globe):
"Some of the scamsters and would be scamsters are funny-...Bill Pullman as a dim cop whose low-wattage mental processing abilities free him from a lot of police work he hates to do anyway...Kudrow and Pullman are the ones with the best comic timing. It's his funniest work since 'Ruthless People,' especially when he rolls his eyes at a stripper, reaches into his bag of superlatives, and describes her as 'one of those ALBANY girls.'"
Film.com Bill Pullman has a brief cameo as an incredibly lazy cop. He probably has the best role in the film. He issues tickets and doesn't feel like filling them out. He gets repeatedly distracted at a strip club. He'd rather take a nap than follow a murder suspect. He offers a significant portion of the laughs in this film.
Filmcritic.com Bill Pullman is subtly hilarious as the sleazy slack-off antihero cop.
Baltimore Sun The movie is bolstered by a surprisingly funny performance from Bill Pullman as a lazy cop.
Film.com Three-quarters of the way in, however, something happens that almost redeems the whole shebang: Bill Pullman appears, playing Harrisburg's least perceptive or professionally minded cop, the kind of guy who hands out blank tickets because his pen ran out halfway through and he was just too darn put-upon to do them over. He's truly hilarious.
The movie's website: http://www.luckynumbersmovie.com, if it's still up.
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