SOMETIMES, YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE A GOOD FOLD: Curtis Hanson has a lot of fans around here, and rightly so--the four previous films he's made in the past ten years have all been excellent, and span a wide range of material--the noir drama, the picaresque journey of a writer, the quest of a man from the wrong side of the tracks to find acceptance, and the bonds between family members. Although it's being dumped after much delay, and certainly has its weaknesses, Lucky You, Hanson's poker flick, is well worth seeing. Yes, the romantic subplot is annoying and not entirely credible. Yes, there are not one, but two, sequences of Drew Barrymore singing. Yes, Horatio Sanz is in this movie. And yes, there's something else out this weekend sucking all the air out of the room.
But somehow, in spite of all that, Hanson and co-writer Eric Roth manage to make a movie that's somewhere between Leaving Las Vegas and Ocean's 11 on the Vegas nihilism scandal, and that manages to say something about forgiveness and the bond between fathers and sons. Sure, it doesn't feature spectacular four-way rooftop battles (heck, even with the reshoots and delays, the film's entire budget is probably less than Spidey's final showdown cost), but it's got real emotion, and reminded me in a lot of ways of Jim McManus' Positively Fifth Street (which we can all agree is the definitive book about the WSOP and Vegas, right?), and it gets to you. (There's also a very funny, wholly unbilled cameo from a well-known actor.)