by Toby Woollaston
Five years ago Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s 11,12,13, Erin Brockovich) quipped “If I have to get into a van to do another scout, I’m just going to shoot myself.” Well, saddle up Stevo, because your so-called “retirement” has come to an end with Logan Lucky.
Set in Boone County, West Virginia, Logan Lucky resembles an Ocean film but with all the knee slappin’ swagger of a West Virginian bar brawl. The Logan brothers, Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver), cite a family curse for their bad luck. Jimmy was a promising American football player until his knee blew out and Clyde lost his arm (or hand, as he insists) on tour in Iraq. Determined to change their bad fortune, they hatch a plan to circumvent (quite literally) the local speedway’s cash takings that are being pumped through pneumatic tubes into an underground vault. Unsurprisingly, an explosives expert is required for the heist—the appropriately named Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) along with his two brothers. After a comically small deliberation on the morals of carrying out the felony (to get the film’s audience onside as much as themselves), their tenuous plan kicks off a riotous regimen of shenanigans and tomfoolery.
Soderbergh is never one to shy away from peculiar production practices, and here he has turned to an unknown writer (to us, at least) to pen this screwball caper. Credited as Rebecca Blunt, the film’s writer is rumoured to be a pseudonym for Soderbergh’s wife Jules Asner, comedian John Henson, or even Soderbergh himself.
Having produced the Ocean’s triplets (and with one in the oven), Soderbergh’s experience in working with an ensemble cast is clearly evident; here the main cast offers solid performances that embrace the film’s tone. However, Logan Lucky is not without its faults; a few heavy handed stereotypes, some pedestrian moments, and forced cameos from Seth MacFarlane, Katherine Waterston, and Hilary Swank, unfortunately derail the film’s momentum and continuity. There is no doubting that Logan Lucky has a big heart and tries its hardest to be endearing, but it falls a couple of rednecks short of a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.
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