The milieu this film depicts is only known to me through my obsessive childhood viewing of The Dukes of Hazard and Smokey and the Bandit. Just like Bo, Luke and Daisy or the Bandit and Cledus, brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Clyde (Adam Driver) and sister Mellie (Riley Keough) try to break out of a streak of bad luck by making money on the other side of the law.
There are some bizarre casting choices. The only word that comes to mind is incongruous. Like Daniel Craig as Joe Bang, the genius bomb maker. It’s wonderful to see him act and he does steal this film but at the same time, you are constantly wondering what James Bond is doing locked up in West Virginia jail cell. Not too dissimilar is Hilary Swank’s turn as FBI agent Grayson. It seems to me these actors should be doing some Globe Theatre work on the West End but are forcing out performances here for some reason. Did they lose a bet at director Soderbergh’s weekly poker game? Finally and most glaringly there is Seth MacFarlane, the voice of Stewie on Family Guy. Here he is doing the voice of Stewie as an evil stock car driver with a bad pasted on mustache. I can’t suspend disbelief that long and no one should ask me to. If you are looking for a comedic bad guy NASCAR driver, it will be a long time before anyone tops Sacha Baron Cohen in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentson, “Sir, I’ve seen Talladega Nights and this is no Talladega Nights.”
For all the A list stars in this film, I was not a fan of the cinematography. After the impressive and tightly choreographed camera movements in last years heist favorite Hell or High Water, there is no excuse for shaky, motivated or unmotivated camera moves. And also, natural lighting doesn’t mean you let the characters fall into shadow. It’s not that kind of film. I don’t know the reason but I guess most of the budget was spent on the car racing segment because those scenes look like they are from a totally different film.
Besides all these thorny issues this film can even melt the heart of a hardened Yankee like myself with a sweet rendition of Take Me Home Country Roads by John Denver. If this song doesn’t get you, doesn’t pull at your heart strings, you should really have your circuitry checked out, because you are a robot. Even if this moment does come at the expense of Rhianna. What did Rihanna ever do to writer Rebecca Blunt? But I can accept that like Waylon Jennings’ Dukes theme song Good Ol’ Boys, the movie is just trying to have a little fun without meanin’ no harm. So if you can lower the bar and just want to go along for a hi-octane ride you can still enjoy Lucky Logan.