Lucky Them (2014)
Toni Collette is a wonderful, charming actress who never completely fit into the rom-com box so many young actresses are squeezed into when first on the rise. If you watch her early films such as The Efficiency Expert, Cosi, and Muriel’s Wedding, she is a little odder and deeper than most quirky cuties. Muriel’s Wedding particularly is a role I genuinely love Toni Collette in because she is a pathetic character, but so extremely lovable because of how much spirit she has despite being a loser.
Lucky Them would seem the perfect fit for Collette’s quirky sensibility, and would have been 10 years ago when she was still playing characters like Muriel and the mother in About a Boy. Yet, in the past few years Collette has become more of a cool, alternative mature, independent woman, which is precisely how she plays her character in Lucky Them. In Lucky Them, she has never been cooler. She has a great job as a music writer, good friends (most of whom she doesn’t treat as well as they treat her), and a fantastic apartment. The only problem in her life seems to be the fact that her boyfriend, a rocker, left her 10 years ago and either killed himself or went into hiding. Now, if there was ever the hint in the film that our main character did in fact kill himself, her ten year wound would be somewhat logical. But they make it abundantly clear from the first few minutes that he is only hiding, and that she believes this to be true. So rather than morning the death of her great love, she still hurting from a pathetic loser who left her.
Collette’s character is simply too accomplished and capable for her character to behave the way she does in this film and still seem likable. She treats her friends poorly, uses her boyfriends, and is oblivious of her professional responsibilities – which just makes her unlikable and hard to watch during the film 90 minute running time. Had she been a little younger, when this kind of dependency on men is perhaps a little more understandable (although no more excusable) or played by an actress who doesn’t seem capable the way Collette does here (like Kristin Wiig in Bridesmaids), the film would have seemed like a bit more of a romp…but for the most part its just a bore. She isn’t pathetic enough in the role, so her character comes across as little more than a selfish jerk.
There is one bright spot in Lucky Them which is Thomas Haden Church as Collette’s rich, needy friend who is just hilarious. He makes every scene he’s in completely watchable and brings out the best in Collette’s strained performance. There is something about Church, who never really plays characters differently, but is so entertaining the way he delivers lines with his droll Texas accent that makes things seem funnier and weirder than they would if said by any other actor actor. He doesn’t work enough, but when he does, I’m always happy to see him.
Watch the Lucky Them Trailer