Lucky 13 (2005) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for sexual content and language
Running Time: 79 min.
Cast: Brad Hunt, Harland Williams, Lauren Graham, Sasha Alexander, Debra Jo Rupp, John Doe, Kaley Cuoco, Brande Roderick, Taryn Manning, Amanda Detmer, Jessica Meyerson
Director: Chris Hall
Screenplay: Chris Hall, Ari Schlossberg
It's difficult to call this a "straight-to-video" release in 2005, when it was made way back in 1999-2000, which should give you some indication as to the film's overall quality -- probably finally seeing release by MGM thanks to some recent interest in actress Lauren Graham (Bad Santa, "Gilmore Girls"). Although this was made around the same time, this has a virtually identical premise to a 1999 Tim Daly film, Seven Girlfriends. This kind of episodic romantic comedy practically writes itself, with a loser at the center of the film going back to meet all the wildly eccentric women of his past, one after the other, until he finally matures through the experience and can make the leap to find true love.
Brad Hunt (Fire Down Below, Dream with the Fishes) plays Zach Baker, who has been lifelong friends with the first crush he's ever had, Abbey (Graham). After spending most of their lives together, Abbey is finally branching out and moving out of the small town to pursue career goals, which stirs emotions in Zach, as he's about to lose the only woman he has ever loved. With the help of his best friend Bleckman (Harland Williams, The Whole Nine Yards), Zach has just a few days to figure out a way to make a belated attempt at winning Abbey before it's too late. He doesn't even know where to begin, so he decides to go back to all of the failed relationships he's and to find out what went wrong, so he can make sure never to repeat these mistakes again with Abbey.
Lucky 13 might have had a chance to be decent, if only the screenplay weren't aiming so low. It starts off as a crude sex comedy, eventually transforming into a protracted sitcom, and finally making the attempt to go for a sweet ending. In a way, it's of a similar mindset to the crude romantic comedies which came out around 2000, especially any of the Farrelly Brothers films, which went for lowbrow laughs at the expense of some dim bulb characters, featuring a nonstop soundtrack of modern pop-rock hits, and with a sweetness underneath to try to make it seem cute in its own juvenile way. Not that Lucky 13 should be seen by fans of those sorts of movies, as it seems a very stale and redundant film today.
Further Farrelly comparisons are begged with Brad Hunt's character, looking and acting like "Dumbest", the would-be long-lost friend of Dumb and Dumber. Zach, as written and portrayed, is such a naive simpleton, it's hard to imagine him having even one relationship, much less twelve with what might be the hottest babes in the small town he lives in. Why ask what he's doing wrong, when it seems he can get nearly every woman he sets his eyes on? This character just doesn't work for this sort of movie, and neither do the very one-dimensional female characters, thinly developed to provide just one or two laughs and then are gone. It's also hard to believe that two lifelong friends could rub off as little on each other as these two do, with almost nothing in common, and a formality to their friendship that should have been erased long ago.
Lucky 13's credits start to roll at around the 75 minute mark, and for that, we can at least thankful that Chris Hall realized that adding anything more to this already thin material would be laborious for the viewers. With a predictable script, shallow plotting, and characters that are pale imitations of ones you've seen in much funnier films, there just isn't anything here to recommend. Luckily, it's also instantly forgettable once it's over.
©2005 Vince Leo