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REVIEW: Logan Lucky

By Eric Hillis,

REVIEW: Logan Lucky

When Steven Soderbergh announced his ‘retirement’ in 2013, going out on the double strike of pharmaceutical thriller Side Effects and Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, few of us believed him. It seems spending time pottering about in the garden, in between directing his TV period medical drama The Knick, didn’t agree with the filmmaker, who makes his return to cinema screens a mere four years later with the all-star white trash heist movie (Riffraffi?) Logan Lucky.

From the opening scene, in which a goateed Channing Tatum discusses the merits of John Denver while working on a car engine, it’s clear we’re not in for a subtle depiction of life in its West Virginia setting. Tatum is Jimmy Logan, as close to a protagonist as Logan Lucky can boast of among its roster of crudely drawn Southern stereotypes. Limping like James Garner in the final season of The Rockford Files, Jimmy loses his job at a coal mine, making his struggles to pay alimony and child support to his ex-wife (Katie Holmes) even more difficult.

Along with his hairdressing sister Mellie (a wasted Riley Keough) and bartender brother Clyde (a somnambulistic Adam Driver), the latter a veteran with a prosthetic arm, Jimmy concocts a scheme to rob the vault of the Charlotte Speedway track. To pull it off he must enlist the currently incarcerated Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), an expert in busting open bank vaults.

REVIEW: Logan Lucky

With Logan Lucky, Soderbergh and screenwriter Rebecca Blunt appear to be paying homage to the redneck exploitation movies of the ‘70s - which depending on budget, usually starred either Burt Reynolds or Bo Hopkins - but the cartoonish portrayal of rural American life comes off as patronising at best, offensive at worst. The male characters are little more than a series of macho tics, while the women, all big hair and tight skirts, serve as background decoration, proving female screenwriters are just as capable of writing awful roles for their gender as their more numerous male counterparts. Other characters, or rather caricatures, drift around the periphery of the narrative, none more irritating than Seth MacFarlane as a cockney energy drinks magnate whose role in the drama I’m still trying to make sense of.

As a heist movie, Logan Lucky fails to create enough conflict, with the Logans’ plans going off with nary a hitch. What few obstacles appear in their path are dispensed within seconds. There’s never a sense that these people are out of their depth, and the Speedway is laughably devoid of security. The movie keeps telling us how the Logans are jinxed, but never shows us much evidence of this. As a comedy, it’s devoid of witty dialogue and amusing scenarios, relying on sub Coen Bros gurning from its cast.

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There’s a subplot about Jimmy’s love for his young daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), but we only see this in the opening scene, which makes a final act sequence set during a school pageant, in which Sadie sings her father’s favorite song (I’ll let you guess which John Denver standard it is), completely unearned and a cheap exploitation of musical sentiment. I almost forgot about the doctor played by Katherine Waterston, who appears in one scene yet is posited as a love interest for Jimmy. The over-riding sense throughout Logan Lucky is of watching a high profile cable TV show that has chopped 10 episodes’ worth of material down to just two hours.

With Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven remake it felt like we were watching a bunch of friends having fun making a movie, and that enthusiasm somewhat translated to the audience. With Logan Lucky you similarly get the sense that everyone involved was having a blast, but this one’s no fun for the viewer. Was retirement really that bad Steven?

Logan Lucky  1 1/2 Stars out of 5

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh. Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston, Sebastian Stan, Katie Holmes

originally published: 2017-08-22 14:05:23

Upcoming Events

Jersey City Theater Center Screens "How Many Lives?" on June 21

Jersey City Theater Center Screens "How Many Lives?" on June 21

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Jersey City Theater Center will present a screening of How Many Lives? on Thursday, June 21 at White Eagle Hall.  The documentary film, directed by Duda Penteado, explores the views and impacts of gun violence through the eyes of 25 young student artists of Jersey City, NJ. Doors are at 6:30pm, the screening begins at 7:00pm.  Admission is $10.

Trenton Children's Chorus To Host Special Screening of "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Trenton Children's Chorus To Host Special Screening of "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- Trenton Children's Chorus (TCC) will host a special screening of the critically acclaimed new documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? on Friday, June 22 at 7:00pm at the Princeton Garden Theatre, located at 160 Nassau Street in Princeton. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with Eliot Daley, who joined Fred Rogers as president of the 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' organization during its early years.

Monmouth Arts Presents A Screening of "Puzzle"

Monmouth Arts Presents A Screening of "Puzzle"

(RED BANK, NJ) -- Monmouth Arts offers a sneak preview of Puzzle - a new film by Marc Turtletaub that stars Austin Abrams, Mandela Bellamy, and Myrna Cabello.  The screening will take place on Thursday, June 21st at 7:30pm at Bow Tie Cinemas in Red Bank. Admission is $12 in advance for Monmouth Arts' Members ($15 at the door) and $15 for Non-Members.

State Theatre Presents Sing-a-Long Grease On Film's 40th Anniversary

State Theatre Presents Sing-a-Long Grease On Film's 40th Anniversary

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Sing-a-Long Grease, a unique, interactive screening of the movie musical Grease, marking the 40th Anniversary of the film, on Thursday, June 21 at 8:00pm. Complete with on-screen lyrics, the program—presented on the first day of summer—also includes a chance for the audience to dress up as T-Bird or Pink Lady and enter the costume competition for prizes. Tickets are $19. 

Event calendar
Monday, Jun 18, 2018


BRUCE HORNSBY & THE NOISEMAKERS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

HARRY CONNICK, JR. @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


AUDITIONS: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 7:30pm


MIKE FINOIA, KEVIN FLYNN, KYLE GROOMS @ The Music Box @ Borgata Casino Hotel, Atlantic City - 9:00pm


ACTION POINT @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm

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