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Logan Lucky

Logan Lucky Review by FilmZ

We missed Logan Lucky when it made its theatrical run because my associate, Guy S. Malone, Researcher, dismissed it as "Oceans 11 for the NASCAR set."  The fact that his summation was accurate doesn't alter the fact that our family thoroughly enjoyed it on New Year's Eve while Guy S. Malone, Researcher, turned up his nose and decided instead to, erm, "research" a gallon of moonshine his Allegheny Mountain cousin Harley distilled and named "Daytona 500 Fuel."  I only mention this because the delicious irony was lost on my associate along with several million of his brain cells and nearly his eyesight.

We should have appreciated the fact Steven Soderbergh, a master of crime movies, including the Oceans trilogy, came out of his brief retirement to direct Logan Lucky, a film produced by and starring former collaborator (Magic Mike) Channing Tatum.  Along with first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (rumored to be a pen name of Soderbergh's wife, Jules Asner), they have concocted a fast-paced heist movie whose implausibilities and coincidences we go along with because everyone is having so much fun.

Jimmy Logan (Tatum) is a former West Virginia high school football hero, who has just lost his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  His ex, Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) has custody of their daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) and is intent on making her a child beauty queen, but in spirit she's more like her dad.  Jimmy has a hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough), fast driver and quick wit, who also happens to be the smartest of the Logans, and a brother Clyde (Adam Driver), a bartender who lost his left arm in the military.  Unemployed, with no discernible skills, and living under the infamous "Logan curse," Jimmy hatches a dubious plot: to rob the Charlotte Speedway.  He has a plan, written in simple, and simple-minded steps on butcher block paper tacked to the wall in his home.  While he was on his job, you see, he discovered the system of vacuum tubes by which the race track gathers its money and whooshes it to a central underground vault.  After recruiting his siblings, he and Clyde visit Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), an appropriately-named safecracker in prison.  With the promise of an airtight alibi and a split of a take, they bring him in, but at a cost: Jimmy must also employ Joe's moronic brothers, Sam (Brian Gleeson) and Fish (Jack Quaid).

As the convoluted (in a good way) scheme becomes operational, the Logans and their crew run into Soderbergh's typical array of extended cameos: nasty Brit Max (a Snidely Whiplash-mustachioed Seth MacFarlane), angelic bloodmobile nurse Sylvia (Katherine Waterston), reckless racecar driver Dayton (Sebastian Stan) unwittingly helpful prison warden (Dwight Yoakam), and dogged FBI agent (Hilary Swank), and true cameos from LeAnn Rimes, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, and Mike Joy.  The primary cast is uniformly likable, and they seem to have had genuine fun in the same way the old Burt Reynolds rural working-man comedies did.  Riley Keough is sharp and strikes all the right notes as the savvy, sassy sister; Adam Driver shows a comic flare as brick-dumb but sincere brother, and Channing Tatum keeps getting better.  But the real star is Daniel Craig cast against type, as a bleached blonde, comic hardcase.  Soderbergh's signature finishing touch--a step-by-step flashback trail revealing how the pieces of the heist came together don't come together perfectly without our buying several implausibilities and coincidences, but in the end we should allow the Logans a little luck, shouldn't we?

7.5 out of 10 on an Entertainment Scale
4.0 out of 10 on an Awards Scale


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