“Logan Lucky”- Movie Review

Before I begin, I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I have never seen Ocean’s Eleven, or Ocean’s Twelve, or Ocean’s Thirteen (it does go to thirteen, right?). I know, I know. How can a self-proclaimed movie lover like me have not seen the notorious heist movie trilogy? Honestly, I have no excuse. These movies just kept slipping past my radar. I say this because Logan Lucky apparently sprouts from the same vein as director Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans films, and therefore I can’t say whether that’s true or not. I can only judge as someone who’s unfamiliar with his style.

Logan Lucky stars Channing Tatum as Jimmy Logan, a blue-collar North Carolina laborer who gets laid off from his job. To make things worse, he finds out his ex-wife Bobbi Joe (Katie Holmes) and pageant-obsessed daughter, Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), are moving out of state. Frustrated, Jimmy concocts a plan to pull a heist during a high-profile NASCAR race. Despite some reservations at first, Jimmy and successfully enlists the help of his brother, Clyde (Adam Driver), a one-armed Iraq War veteran, their sister Milly (Riley Keough), and convicted safe-cracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig).

People are raving about this movie, saying it is a return to form for Steven Soderbergh. That it’s one of his best in a long time, and that is destined to become a masterpiece. I happen to disagree. Logan Lucky is an entertaining movie at best. It has a unique story and an endearingly quirky personality which kept my attention from beginning to end. But I never felt that spark. There was never a moment where I thought to myself, “This deserves a special place in film history.” Because that’s what a masterpiece is to me- a monumental achievement in terms of technical innovation, long-lasting emotional resonance, or in being a sort of time capsule.

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Although the film doesn’t reach that level, it definitely has its bright spots. For one, the actors give really good performances. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are especially great as the brothers, and Daniel Craig is obviously having a blast as this loony convict. Like I said, the idea of the heist is great. I was interested in how it would play out. The cinematography is good, and Soderbergh’s crisp direction has a nice, relaxed feel to it. Maybe a little too relaxed.

While the plot kept my interest, the film moves at a slow, monotonous pace. There’s no sense of tension, no sense of urgency. It just moseys along from Point A to Point B then to Point C, lingering on comedic bits that are underwhelming overall, but decent enough to at least get a quiet chuckle. Some characters are introduced as though they’re going to be part of an important sub-plot, but their stories go nowhere. For example, Sebastian Stan (my love) and Seth MacFarlane didn’t need to be in this movie. Stan plays a super Zen NASCAR driver and MacFarlane plays his douche manager. The purpose of their existence is to serve as a plot device. That’s it. Their bits could have been cut from the movie and nothing would have changed. Katherine Waterston, who one may recognize from Fantastic Beasts and Alien: Covenant is completely underused. She comes in at the beginning, then she comes back at the end. I didn’t even remember her character’s name. Hilary Swank also shows up as an FBI agent investigating the heist. As soon as she stepped into frame, I dreaded the movie still had another forty-five minutes to go. Thankfully,  that wasn’t the case.

(On a random note, there’s a really weird scene with a dissolving man in a bear suit towards the beginning of the film. It’s been a pet peeve of mine since I saw the movie. Those who saw it know what I’m talking about. What was up with that?!)

Logan Lucky is a decent flick. It’s clear that the people both in front of the camera and behind it have put in the effort to try to make something interesting. In some respects, they achieved what they set out to do. But as the whole, the end result is a deeply underwhelming one. The comedy is dull, certain storylines could have and should have been cut, and while the film has a good idea, the lack of energy in its execution fails to put it above “okay” status. If you’re at all curious about Logan Lucky, I’d say wait until it comes on Redbox, or stream it when it gets on Amazon or Netflix. Who knows, maybe you’ll have a better time than I had.

Cosmic Grade: 3.3 out of 5 Stars

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