28 March 2001 | FlickJunkie-2
Another disappointing film for Travolta
I think highly of John Travolta as an actor. After being one of the hottest properties in the eighties, he virtually disappeared for five years and then spent another four years with nothing more substantial than three `Look Who's Talking' movies. Then at 40 years of age, he took an enormous gamble with `Pulp Fiction', making a triumphant comeback and never looking back. Unfortunately, 2000 was not a good year for Travolta. After the lackluster `Battlefield Earth', he needed a project that would help him regain his momentum. This film wasn't it.
`Lucky Numbers' is a dark comedy about two hapless employees of a local Harrisburg TV station who try to fix the state lottery. The screenplay is goofy and has a TV sitcom feel to it. The majority of the jokes don't work. Director Nora Ephron (`Sleepless in Seattle', `Michael', `You've Got Mail') is a talented director, but quirky slapstick is not her strong suit. She does much better with schmaltzy romantic projects.
Travolta hasn't played a character this vacuous since Vinnie Barbarino in `Welcome Back, Kotter'. It is a definite step backward for him, since he has proven himself an excellent dramatic actor. His performance isn't terrible, the character is. For Lisa Kudrow, this is the same ditzy character she has been playing for years, only with a liberal dose of profanity. She does a good job, but the character is extremely predictable with little range. Ed O'Neill is droll as the station manager who tries to cut himself in on the caper.
This film has plenty of talent, but a weak script. I rated it 5/10. It is not awful, but it is extremely mediocre and it didn't provide Travolta with an opportunity to redeem his year.