Luck Review

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Luck centers on a young woman prone to misfortune, although she likes to see the glass half full. That may be the best way to interpret the movie. Luck isn’t a flawless film, but there’s too much to enjoy to declare the glass half empty. The animation is vibrant, the voice performances are passionate, and the worldbuilding makes for a lot of inventive scenarios. The script needed one more rewrite to fill the glass to the brim, but director Peggy Holmes still delivers more lemonade than lemons.

Eva Noblezada is hard to resist as Sam Greenfield, an 18-year-old orphan about to live on her own for the first time. As if getting passed over by several potential parents wasn’t bad enough, Sam tends to oversleep, get locked in the bathroom, and drop her toast jelly side down. Her lifetime of bad luck comes to a sudden halt upon discovering a literal lucky penny. Rather than hoard the luck for herself, Sam seeks to share the penny with her young friend Hazel (Adelynn Spoon), who’s been struggling to get adopted. This quickly establishes Sam as a sincere heroine we want to root for. Even with a lucky penny, though, Sam winds up accidentally flushing it down a toilet.

Turns out that the penny belonged to a talking black cat named Bob. Simon Pegg puts on a thick Scottish accent as Bob, who insists that black cats aren’t as unlucky as they appear. Bad luck is sure to head Bob’s way without the penny, though, as his boss (Whoopi Goldberg) is always looking for a reason to fire him. Bob unintentionally brings Sam to the Land of Luck, which is like Silicon Valley if it were populated by Leprechauns, bunnies, and a dragon voiced by Jane Fonda. Just as there are two sides to every coin, The Land of Luck directly parallels the Land of Bad Luck. While the film can get a little exposition heavy as it explains how these worlds function, the setting is a visual feast channeling a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Had Jack Skellington gone through the four-leaf clover door, he’d likely encounter a world like this.

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While the characters are likable and the world is immersive, Luck isn’t without a few missteps. Although Sam’s back luck amounts to some solid slapstick, the filmmakers could’ve taken it a step further. For somebody who’s supposed to be the unluckiest person in the world, her hair is rarely messy, her clothes look like they just came back from the cleaners, and she never even gets a pimple. If anything, Milo Murphy and Mei Lee from Turning Red had worse luck. Sam feels more like a Disney princess, right down to singing a random pop song tailored more for the soundtrack than the story. The stakes also seem fairly low. Whether or not Sam gets another penny, there’s a 50/50 chance Hazel will still get adopted. It isn’t until the third act that we get a legitimate crisis that could’ve filled the entire run time. Instead, it’s resolved a bit too easily.

Luck marks the first venture between Skydance Animation and Apple. It’s also the studio’s first feature under the supervision of producer John Lasseter following his exit from Disney and Pixar. Luck has echoes of Monsters, Inc. and Inside Out, but it doesn’t hit the ground running like those films. It shares more in common with the earlier films that Lasseter oversaw as Disney’s COO, i.e. Meet the Robinsons. However, it wasn’t long until Disney started churning out classics like Tangled and Frozen. Skydance has potential to get there with more focus on the script level. At its core, this film possesses a worthwhile message about how bad luck can sometimes lead to something good. Likewise, Luck may lead to better things to come. For now, it’s a charming first outing for Skydance.

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About Nick Spake

Nick Spake has been working as an entertainment writer for the past ten years, but he's been a lover of film ever since seeing the opening sequence of The Lion King. Movies are more than just escapism to Nick, they're a crucial part of our society that shape who we are. He now serves as the Features Editor at Flickreel and author of its regular column, 'Nick Flicks'.

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