I can’t really recommend “Logan Lucky” to anybody I know because I can’t think of one person who would actually find the movie enjoyable. Steven Soderbergh‘s redneck heist romp isn’t a terrible movie, but it isn’t a whole lot of fun either.
The story centers around the blue collar Logan brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver) who plan to execute an elaborate heist during the big Memorial Day NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The comparisons to 2001’s “Ocean’s Eleven” are inevitable, but instead of the suave, suit-clad sophisticate played by George Clooney, we have a ragtag band of rednecks with Charlie Daniels t-shirts and really, really bad Southern accents. It mirrors far better stories that are grounded in the same type of absurdity, plodding along like a poor man’s Coen brothers movie while borrowing heavily from the greatness of similar films. All of this adds up to more than a shade of mediocrity.
As is to be expected, the actual heist (get ready for those requisite twists and “gotchas”) is the best part of the film. What a pity that you’re forced to sit through a lengthy, excruciating, off-key performance of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by an untalented child in a beauty pageant.
Luckily the talented cast of actors are more than enough to keep audiences engaged. Daniel Craig hams it up as incarcerated career criminal Joe Bang, a scene stealer like you’ve not seen in a long while. Tatum brings yet another charismatic riff to his charming doofus persona, Driver is given little to do as a one-armed bartender, and Riley Keough is wasted in a lame supporting role as their sister Mellie. With a cast like this, the film should’ve been way more fun that it actually is. There are some funny moments, but nothing comes close to classifying this one as a bonafide comedy.
The clunky story feels slow, and the oddly uncomfortable supporting performances from Hilary Swank as an FBI agent on the trail and Seth MacFarlane in a completely pointless and distracting role as a British energy drink purveyor don’t help matters at all. The movie has an air of an undeserved pedigree that hovers throughout as if it’s straight up daring audiences to say they don’t like it. Perhaps this will be one of those movies that failed to resonate with me upon first viewing but will later become a classic. I suspect not, but it’s hard to say.
“Logan Lucky” is made by talented people but it is never successful in finding the right tone, causing a strong feeling that something really important is missing.