Music critic Ellie (Toni Collette) can’t quite seem to get it together. Her work is plateauing, her love life consists of a string of short-lived relationships with musicians, and the only man she’s ever had real feelings for has been missing for 10 years. In an attempt to restart her career and get her writing back on track, her boss Giles (Oliver Platt) assigns her a job beyond her usual reviewing gigs: she is to track down her missing ex boyfriend, who in his heyday became a well known rock star and is presumed to have killed himself. With the help of an old friend, Charlie (Thomas Haden Church), who is keen on filming her search in the hope of turning into a documentary, Ellie reluctantly agrees to pursue the story.
Reminiscent of Begin Again, but lacking all the heart, Lucky Them is a film on cruise control. It has an original premise and a solid cast of talented actors, but the story arc goes in all the directions you’d expect it to. It’s not quite a comedy and yet not tragic enough for a drama, so it just coasts along in this middle lane, never really grabbing your attention or making you sit up and think. There was some comic relief in the character of Charlie, played by Thomas Haden Church (who most will recognise as the monotone yet fabulously witty Mr Griffith from Easy A), but the humour seemed a little forced at times, and his performance just didn’t quite reach the standards of the consistently fabulous Toni Collette.
There’s no denying Toni Collette’s prowess as an actor. She makes every character she plays her own and she brought life and emotion to this otherwise formulaic film. Her ability to make her audience feel everything that her character feels is incredible and moving, and if there were more emotion-driven scenes in this film, I have no doubt she would have elevated Lucky Them beyond your average comedy drama.
That’s not to say that this film isn’t enjoyable. The soundtrack is sweet and soulful, featuring some great acoustic numbers, and the movie is filmed in some beautiful locations. It’s watchable in the same way many of its kind are, but there just isn’t quite enough substance to say that it’s something fantastic. There’s an air of improbability about it that makes you question the events playing out and keeps you from really sinking your teeth into the story and forming a relationship with the characters.
Lucky Them is a bit of a mixed bag. With Toni Collette at the helm, you are at least sure to enjoy watching her do what she does best. But the film leaves you wanting just a little bit more – a little bit more humour, a little bit more relatability and a little bit more heart.