Take High Fidelity, age the main character ten years, make him a woman, add a larger helping of bittersweet ruefulness, and you have director Megan Griffithsí indie Lucky Them, a midlife-crisis dramedy that benefits from a cast who provide nuance and depth to a script that feels less than fully formed.
Toni Collette stars as Ellie Klug, a longtime Seattle rock journalist and legend on the local scene who enjoys her respected status a bit too much and has been coasting on past glories for a while. She still goes to tons of shows, but her boss Giles (the always playful Oliver Platt) says heís going to have to let her go unless she writes a big piece about Matthew Smith -- a Kurt Cobain-like onetime grunge god who disappeared, possibly committing suicide, years before at the height of his fame.
Ellie resists at first: She and Matthew had been a couple at the time he vanished, and she has little interest in revisiting that painful period of her life. Besides, sheís just started a relationship with Lucas (Ryan Eggold), a young singer/songwriter looking for his first big break. However, with her job security on the line, she ends up teaming with Charlie (Thomas Haden Church), a quirky, seemingly independently wealthy wannabe documentarian, who agrees to help her if sheíll let him film their search for Matthew.
The script for Lucky Them, by Huck Botko and Emily Wachtel, lacks a strong narrative drive. This is a meandering movie that feels like itís spinning its wheels much of the time, and while that aptly matches Ellieís mind-set at the beginning of the story, it makes for less-than-compelling viewing.
Thankfully, the writing duo manage to provide a number of sharp lines, and Griffiths has assembled a top-shelf cast to make these characters come to life. Collette proves yet again that she has no interest in falsely earning an audienceís sympathy -- Ellie has a handful of selfish moments that let us know that her cynical and cool journalistic faÁade is hiding the pain she still feels from her time with Matthew. Churchís Charlie is wholly artificial and feels like a sitcom character, but the actorís unique comic timing keeps his scenes with Collette lively. Platt and Eggold contribute stellar support, and when we finally see Matthew, itís a surprising and welcome steroid-sized cameo from an actor who hasnít done anything this small-scale in a long time.
Colletteís portrayal of a woman reconnecting with the world by coming to terms with her past -- and establishing healthy relationships with two new men in her life -- totally carries this movie. The subject matter is the sort that Hollywood seems to have less and less interest in, and while Lucky Them is far from the most insightful or exciting slab of cinema to be released in the summer of 2014, it achieves its modest goals.
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- Released: 2013
- Rating: R
- Review: Take High Fidelity, age the main character ten years, make him a woman, add a larger helping of bittersweet ruefulness, and you have director Megan Griffithsí indie Lucky Them, a midlife-crisis dramedy that benefits from a cast who provide nuance and depth… (more)