Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lucky Them: Movie Review

Immature character loses the plot as she finds herself.

Lucky Them stars Toni Collette as Ellie a music journalist in her early 40s acting like she’s in her early 20s. We first meet her as she’s breaking up with some guy and then her boss (Oliver Platt) is desperately pleading with her to write a good story otherwise her job is in jeopardy. She doesn’t get it, but she agrees to locate her long-lost presumed-dead ex-boyfriend former-rock-star to write his story. 2013

Directed by: Megan Griffiths

Screenplay by: Emily Wachtel, Huck Botko

Starring: Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, and Ryan Eggold

Sounds like a perfectly reasonable and interesting plot. But Ellie doesn’t see the need to write this story so she takes her sweet time in doing anything. She meets a new wannabe musician boyfriend, destined to become an ex-boyfriend, but then decides it’s time to track down the mysterious Matthew Smith. She apparently needs money to do this (let’s assume gas money) so she tracks down a rich ex-boyfriend as an investor. This doesn’t just sound like a lot of ex-boyfriends, it really is a lot.

As can likely be guessed based on the character of Ellie, this journey to find Matthew Smith peters out half-way through the movie and becomes a journey of self-discovery. What makes Ellie happy? What has caused the collapse of all her relationships? And is she living too much in the past? This is all perfectly fine, but once we lose the mystery element, we lose the plot. Immature musicians aren’t the most likable characters to follow around, and it’s even worse when there isn’t a purpose.

The one reprieve to all the musician nonsense is the rich investor Charlie played by Thomas Haden Church. He’s very much out-of-touch with the current world and speaks in almost like a monotone as he’s delivering his current view of the situation. It’s brilliant comedic absurdity delivered as subtly as possible to make it as funny as possible. He’s the only obvious point of comedy in a film described as a comedy, so while he does seem out of place, he is very funny.

The writing can seem sloppy with characters and plot points introduced purely out of convenience to advance the plot along and then scenes which aren’t fully explained as they just want to get on to the next scene. Lucky Them (I wonder, is that title meant to describe the ex-boyfriends who escaped Ellie’s immaturity?) is a movie desperate to be about more than just the plot that it loses all the elegance of how to do that well.