The Lucky Ones, written and directed by Neil Burger
If not majestic or magnificent, the Lucky Ones is still an interesting, good film, with an excellent cast – Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Pena – and a worthwhile story, involving three people that have come back from the war of the Middle East.
Rachel McAdams is excellent as Colee, a woman that has scene fighting and the man she used to consider her boyfriend die, after saving her life, so she feels that she has to return to his parents, give them a precious guitar with a long story and in her delusion, she thinks she would…live with them.
Tim Robbins has the role of Cheever, another soldier returning from the frontline where he says he was very lucky to have been involved in an accident that needed medical care and that saved his life, because without this event, he would carry on with his unit that would be decimated by the enemy.
Last but not least, there is TK, portrayed by the very good Michael Pena, a soldier who has been travelling in a Humvee when a bomb placed on the road has exploded and after a clash, they all stopped to evaluate the situation and saw that TK has been hit and there is blood on his trousers.
Alas, the injury seems to be serious, for it has hit his private parts and his sexual functioning has been imperiled, the man is worried that he would not be able to perform once he is reunited with his fiancée, near Las Vegas.
In the United States, as they wait for their scheduled trips to their homes, the three soldiers are trapped in the airport where because of some technical failure, flights are cancelled and there is a rush to the car rental office, where all vehicles have been already given away.
Seeing as they have served their country in the army, the man at the rental car office gives them the last car, which is supposed to be kept for his boss, the three returning soldiers intend to drive to Cheever’s home first, only they have trouble very soon along the way, as Colee and TK fight over her late friend.
As Cheever is driving, he stops the car after Colee has thrown her can of soda on the third passenger, the older man tries to mediate and ask for apologizes which TK refuses to ask, for he says it would be like asking forgiveness for the shining sun.
Indeed, we would learn that the late soldier had been a bank robber and he owed money to sharks and was forced to join the Army as the only way out of a dangerous situation, after having robbed a casino- Lucky Jim’s – was it Lucky Jim?
In the heat of the dispute, as they stepped out of the car, Cheever has left the keys inside and they would need help from a car dealer that sells Hummers and is thankful for the advertising the Army is making for him- at the next stop there is more trouble, as the woman who returns from the war tries to talk with other women, only to see they mock her difficult walk- she was also injured- and a fight breaks out.
This is not the war in Iraq, yet after the clash at the stop, they have a near death experience, at a traffic light where TK breaks only at the very last moment and a tube from the car in front enters their van, millimeters away from the face of the driver, which was nearly killed.
When they arrive at his home, Cheever discovers there is a barking dog which he had not had and when the wife returns, she is not thrilled to see him, on the contrary, she announces that she wants a divorce and when the son copes home, there is a humorous scene, where the teenager asks if he heard the news, what his father thinks and if he can believe it…only to reveal he was talking about…Stanford, while his parent thought he was referring to the upcoming divorce.
The soon to be divorced man finds that he needs twenty thousand dollars, if his son is to be admitted at Stanford, which gives him half the money, but in spite of a few thousand that have been collected, there is still a big gap to fill, which TK would suggest that Colee can cover, with that expensive guitar- estimated at…$ 20,000.
Cheever is very depressed and his comrades decide to abandon their initial plan of flying to Las Vegas and instead opt for driving with the disappointed husband to Salt Lake City, with more adventures along the way, a stop at a mega church where the woman mentions that one of her mates is suicidal and the other has been hit in the private parts and wants to see prostitutes to regain the function of his sexual organ.
At the church service, the three soldiers are invited to a lavish birthday party, where a married woman wants to and has sex with Cheever and her husband arrives at the scene, only to…seem to be willing to participate in a ménage a trois of some kind.
The serviceman leaves the bedroom and the comrades are on the road again, where they meet a group of three sex workers, willing to help the injured man with his sexual issue, but when he is about to engage in sex, TK decides he is hungry and needs to eat something before, so he takes Colee to the next shop and when the they are on the way they seem to have been hit by Armageddon.
The apocalypse in the form of a huge storm, with huge winds that may actually mean that this was a tornado or some other weather calamity is upon their car and while the man wants to stay in, the woman says that they will only be saved if they get out and find refuge, which they did in some small tunnel nearby.
As they hold each other faced with this End of the World weather, in the middle of adversity and trauma, there is a Silver Lining – see Silver Linings Playbook – in the form of an…erection, for the penis of the wounded and terribly worried young man is erect- in the words of Colee- “you could hit nails with it”.
The Lucky Ones is not Oscar material, but it is an agreeable motion picture.