Found-footage thrillers share a lot of qualities with “amateur” porn — handheld cameras, unscripted reactions, and a better-than-average chance that you won’t want to watch more than 10 minutes of it.
So how does Lucky Bastard, which combines the two genres, manage to be so good? A solid cast, led by Betsy Rue (as porn star Ashley Saint) and Don McManus (as producer Mike), is the key, performing a sharp, character-driven script by Lukas Kendall and director Robert Nathan.
Mike persuades Ashley to appear on his Lucky Bastard website, in which a “lucky” fan gets the chance to screw a porn star. The gag is, of course, that none of the Bastards are up to a porn-level performance, so they wind up humiliated on video.
That’s definitely true of creepy Dave (Jay Paulson), who shows signs of fraying from the start. It’s just a job for everyone else on set, and the behind-the-scenes logistics of a porn shoot hold their own fascination; for Dave, the encounter is personal and nerve-wracking.
Lucky Bastard opens with a scolding title card, implying the industry is reaping what it’s sown — socially inept killers who view people as objects. But the film is most successful when humanizing the people behind the objectification, with lives beyond the smut.