Released on Friday, Logan Lucky is a black comedy heist film written by Rebecca Blunt and directed by Steven Soderbergh of Oceans Eleven (2001), Traffic (2000), and Erin Brockovich (2000) fame. It seems odd that such an accomplished director and producer would take on a project by a completely unknown screenwriter, which has led some to speculate “Rebecca Blunt” is a pseudonym. Whatever the case, it’s a fun movie with the same kind of fast-paced and clever film making as the Oceans series. Here are some of my initial thoughts:
- It was fun, entertaining, and clever, just like Oceans Eleven. Unlike Oceans Eleven, however, I never found myself rooting for the main character, Jimmy Logan (played by Channing Tatum). He’s more of a sad, tragic figure whose circumstances aren’t really changed by the heist.
- Logan Lucky plays on Southern stereotypes but not in a condescending or demeaning way. Somehow the characters come across as charming and much smarter than they first appear.
- The premise is so weird I was surprised to learn The Coca-Cola 600 is a real race, actually sponsored by Monster Energy (in the film it’s a fictional energy drink company, whose obnoxious British owner, Max Chilblain, is played by Seth MacFarlane). I’m not a NASCAR fan and didn’t even know the Charlotte Motor Speedway was a real place.
- With such an ensemble cast, it was difficult to follow all the characters’ motivations. In Oceans Eleven it was easy because they were all thieves and their motivation was obvious, to get rich and pull off the most daring heist in history–to do something no criminal has ever done before. In Logan Lucky, Jimmy Logan’s motivation is explained, but most of his accomplices are just average people who are trying to put past transgressions behind them. His sister, Mellie (played by Riley Keough) seems to be just going along with the scheme for no reason at all. No one even really tries to talk him out of it.
- Some of the scenes involving Max Chilblain and his driver, including a long introduction by FOX sports broadcasters, seemed out of place and probably should have been cut. The scene with the FOX sports broadcasters was especially painful to watch.
- I’m glad it didn’t turn out like Masterminds (2016), which was another comedy-heist film but was so bad I almost walked out of the theater.
Overall I’d say it was worth the ticket price and would probably be fun to see at a drive-in. Look for a more thorough review on Monday!