Lucky is the story of Ben Keller (Colin Hanks), a Council Bluffs man who wins $36 million in the Iowa State Lottery, and uses it to purchase his dream wife, onetime girl-next-door and current co-worker Lucy (Ari Graynor). Also trading on winning tickets are Hanks, the image of father Tom in the skinny years, and Gil Cates Jr., using his Academy Awards–producing father’s name in lieu of talent. The twisteroo concept here is that bashful Ben is in fact a serial murderer of women, a fact that Lucy fails to report when she learns of it on the honeymoon, waiting on the next check. Having a killer and a complicit gold-digger for leads will require some deft work to sustain a viewer’s sympathy, but this does not seem to occur to the personnel here, who presume the “deliciously dark” setup is more than enough. Ben and Lucy’s blood-pact union is meant, one supposes, as a caricatured vision of the compromises in any marriage of convenience, but drama cannot live on wobbly metaphors alone, and the untenable roles are played without charisma. Graynor is a muddle of kooky indie girlfriend and materialistic fortune hunter; Hanks has neither threat nor pathos at his command.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 13, 2011