Volume 94, Issue 35
Wednesday, November 1, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Another stupid flick for Travolta
Photo by Richard Foreman
"SO HERE'S HOW YOU HITCH-HIKE." John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow plan how they're going to travel after the stinkfest Lucky Numbers kills their careers
Starring: John Travolta, Lisa Kudrow
Directed By: Nora Ephron
By Tara Dermastja
John Travolta's latest attempt to reaffirm himself on Hollywood's A-list is instead going to send him back to Hollywood's washout circuit.
Not only is Lucky Numbers long and tedious, but it also lacks the one quality absolutely necessary for comedic success: Humour. The characters are underdeveloped and the plot twists into so many unfulfilling venues that infomercials seem rapid and exciting in comparison. Unfortunately, not even the cast's experience can save the movie from becoming a box-office flop.
Loosely based on a true story, Lucky Numbers is the story of TV weatherman Russ Richards (Travolta) who finds himself with some money problems. In an attempt to solve these problems, Richard follows the advice of a friend and enlists the help of the station's lotto girl, Crystal (Lisa Kudrow), to rig the state lottery.
Problems arise when additional characters begin vying for a chance at the cash and greed slams the town like relatives at Christmas. Everyone from Crystal's half-wit cousin to the town thug, try to manipulate Russ and Crystal, leading to a lot of lies and increased boredom on the part of the viewers.
It's the supplement of these characters that gives the film its minimal enjoyment. But sadly, not even they can prevent Travolta from embarrassing the acting community. His jokes are laboured and his reactions unbearable. He covers his face so many times, the audience might begin to wonder whether he's hiding from a bad case of hemorrhoids.
Kudrow has enough talent to make her character Crystal relatively entertaining, but the result is she whines and squeals herself into a forgettable performance.
As for the supporting cast, Michael Rappaport does a decent job of providing some of the movie's few laughs, whereas Tim Roth might have had more success if his character had an inch of depth.
Ed O'Neill (Married With Children) is convincing as Dick, the two-timing station owner, while Colin Mochrie of TV's Whose Line is it Anyway? makes an appearance as a Denny's waiter. Lastly, Bill Pullman butchers the inept qualities of his cop character into some of the most unimpressive scenes of his career.
The movie could have been a success. The concept has potential and the actors have the abilty. It's the poor script that warrants the hoards of bad reviews Lucky Numbers will no doubt receive. Director Nora Ephron, who generally does an outstanding job of entertaining audiences, can only hope that viewers will spare her a chance for redemption.
Travolta better hope there's another Grease out there somewhere, otherwise he'll be spending more time with his new daughter than he intended.
To anyone fooled by the charm of the trailer and the lure of the Travolta-Kudrow team: Beware. For every successful film in the movie business, there are many more that fail. Sometimes it's all about the package, sometimes it's all about luck. Ironic, isn't it, that this film has neither.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000