Lucky You


Scoop's note:

As far as I know, this is the first time we have ever had a film reviewed by one of the performers. Sam, a professional gambler, has a scene at the poker table in the all-important role of "Old Man." Although it was surely a strenuous role, he was not required to attend any workshops at The Actor's Studio nor to  perform a nude scene.

by Silver Dollar Sam O'Connor

"Thereís a Cypriot over at that table who owns a lot of chips. And Iím going over to relieve him of some of them. Itís the same table where Nick the Greek had his finest hour."

Not bad lines from Eric Roth, the screenwriter. The words get your attention, add a little intrigue and finish with some poker history. They were spoken by Robert Duvall in the scene filmed at Binion's in Lucky You. But you will never hear it in the movie. However, Duvall gave his usual dependable and likable performance. We all like Robert.

In fact, about half the scene where those lines were to appear was cut. I'm the old man who draws out on Eric Bana by coaxing a nine ("Come on, nine") on the river. (Blue shirt in the pictures to the right.) I found half my lines from the scene had disappeared by the time the film was released. Only Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana kept most of their lines. And thatís the way it should be.

Much more than footage was lost in editing. The theatrical version of Lucky You has a love story that we donít believe. There was no time to develop a believable relationship between Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana and we wind up wondering why they laid awake at night thinking of each other. Because the love story has so little substance, Drew is reduced to what amounts to a supporting role to the more mainstream story of the father/son relationship. (Hey, cut the attempt at a love story and make room for more of my lines!)

Curtis Hanson, one of the finest directors today, had too much footage and too little movie time (2 hrs. 4 min.) to fit it all in. We know this happens often and we know that when it happens, some element of the film will suffer.

Still, itís a shock to see how much footage is severed in the cutting room. Much of the tournament scene is gone. And poor Debra Messing saw all her mermaid fin-flipping efforts splash to the cutting room floor.

Lucky You is not a chick flick. Itís about Las Vegas streets and some of the colorful people who live there. It has some great poker scenes directed by Curtis Hanson who knows how to pay attention to detail and how to get the best from his supporting cast. Horatio Sanz offers a fine performance. A cameo appearance from Robert Downey, Jr. adds almost nothing to the story but captures the essence of the film as he masters a scene in a way that could never allow any director to cut it in the interest of time.

The poker scenes are painstakingly real and very effective. Most of the famous poker players are there and Curtis Hanson gets the best from them.

See the movie for the poker fun. And cheer for me to get my nine Ė Drew did.


Silver Dollar Sam O'Connor  has written the most comprehensive book on no limit hold Ďem to date. Order Samís book, ďHow to Dominate $1 and $2 No Limit Hold ĎEmĒ here



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


A film that should be enjoyed by poker fans and poker players.



DVD features have not yet been announced.







It was nominated for an Oscar for cinematography.

3 James Berardinelli (of 4 stars)
28 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)
50 (of 100)


6.1 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. Delayed three times, then finally released against Spider-Man 3, it was a bomb of unprecedented proportions.  Although in more than 2500 theaters, it grossed less than $3 million on its opening weekend. Gigli grossed more in fewer theaters!



  • None.