Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Lucky Numbers" at amazon.com
review by Ren C.
Running Time: 105 minutes
Starring John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow
Written by Adam Resnick
Directed by Nora Ephron
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Director Nora Ephron,
"Lucky Numbers: A Look Inside" Featurette, Theatrical
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround,
English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Scene
John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow starring in a comedy
directed by Nora Ephron. This, at first glance, looks like a
hit in the making. Don't be fooled, as this is quite
possibly one of the least funny comedies that I have seen in
Lucky Numbers is well intentioned enough, and the plot,
on the surface, sounds fairly appealing. Weatherman Russ
Richards (Travolta), a local celebrity but not much more,
enjoys his fame, until one day when he receives a
foreclosure notice on his house. Desperate for a plan that
will make him rich, and fast, he gets the idea of using his
somewhat girlfriend Crystal, the lottery girl. Together with
their accomplice Gig (Tim Roth), they manage to rig the
lottery balls so that their winning numbers are drawn.
However, once the lottery is won, the problem becomes
actually getting their hands on the winnings.
Like I said, the plot, on the surface, sounds fairly
funny. Adding to this is the outstanding supporting cast
that includes Ed O'Neill, Michael Rapaport and Bill Pullman.
The unfortunate thing is that they're never really given
anything to do. Even Travolta and Kudrow look bored, with
both of them playing characters that they can do in their
sleep. Ephron, most familiar to viewers through such movies
as Sleepless in Seattle and one of Travolta's previous
endeavors, Michael, really doesn't seem to have her heart in
this. At its heart, the movie wants to be an enjoyable
slapstick comedy, but is far too mean-spirited to accomplish
that. None of the characters are likable enough for the
viewer to want them to succeed, which is what generally
makes a comedy like this successful. The protagonists are
all unbelievably self-serving, and by the end of the movie,
I didn't want any of them to succeed, I just wanted to be
rid of them.
Despite its inherent plot flaws, Paramount has done a
very nice job with the presentation. The anamorphic transfer
here looks very good, with colors bright and vibrant without
bleeding, and black levels rich and consistent. There is no
apparent grain on the movie, and little to no pixelation or
artifacts. Overall, a good transfer for a movie this recent.
As good as the video is, the audio seems just a little
bit better. The surrounds are used throughout the movie,
with the varied music that is present in almost every seen
sounding great. I really didn't expect this much bass from a
comedy, but it seemed like every scene had something that
was using the full resources available. Dialogue was never
difficult to understand, and was spaced in such a way that
was logical. This transfer was a very pleasant surprise.
Features have always been the weak point of Paramount's
presentations, and this is no exception. Even for a
box-office bomb like this, I would have liked to see a
little more in the way of depth.
Certainly the most notable feature here is the Audio
Commentary with Director Nora Ephron. Ephron's enjoyment
of the movie comes through in the commentary, as she
describes how much she enjoyed working with Travolta and
Kudrow, why she chose the script, and other interesting
things about the movie. Ephron tends to pause for a while
when she chooses her comments, but this is still a fairly
The next feature is labeled on the menu as "Exclusive
Cast & Crew Interviews", but is actually a featurette
titled "Lucky Numbers: A Look Inside". Interviews
with all the principles are included, and the featurette
does little more but allow them to gush about one another.
This is something that is worth watching once and never
The Theatrical Trailer wraps up the special
features, running slightly long for a contemporary release.
So much potential, so little of it realized. While the
cast and director are very impressive, the script drags them
all down. It seems like everyone involved knew what type of
movie they wanted to make, but they didn't quite make it
there. Video and audio are quite nice, but the features are
disappointing, and the price, as is typical with Paramount
releases, is on the high side.
(1.5/5 - NOT included in
(2.5/5, NOT an average)