Logan Lucky review — A southern wannabe Ocean’s Eleven

Logan Lucky makes an attempt at recreating the charm of Soderbergh’s earlier heist movies, but ultimately misses the mark.

Logan Lucky is being touted as a red state Ocean’s Eleven, which is a lofty comparison considering the latter movie is considered THE heist movie of the 21st century. However, if any director is going to pull it off, it’s Ocean’s director Steven Soderbergh, whose self-imposed retirement seems to have been premature. And while Logan Lucky certainly has its moments, any comparisons to its iconic predecessor yield disappointment.

Featuring an all-star cast, Logan Lucky tells the story of the generally unlucky Logan brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde (Adam Driver). When Jimmy is let go from his job, he enlists Clyde into a scheme that is sure to go down in hillbilly history. The brothers plan to rob Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Jimmy was working construction under the stadium. They enlist the help of their sister Mellie (Riley Keough, who stunned in It Comes At Night earlier this year), Joe Bang (a juicy Daniel Craig), an explosives expert, his brothers to help on the scheme.

The overarching problem with Logan Lucky is that nothing is developed enough. The characters, no matter how talented the actors are, just never have the depth required to make you care about them. Although, Keough, Craig, and particularly, Driver certainly make the most of what they have. The plot is also half-baked at best. Though the actual heist has its fun moments, the lack of stakes, ingenuity, and panache make the final reveal fall flat. It doesn’t have the rhythm or charm of the Ocean’s movies. It’s something that you’ll sorely miss by the end of the film.

The moments of humor do hit sometimes — an extended Game of Thrones joke is easily the best part of the movie. However, so much of the movie relies on the performances to elevate it past its bland direction. Craig, playing against type, has moments of pure comedic genius. He’s the typical comedic scene stealer. But the best performance is easily Adam Driver’s dry, yet sensitive Clyde. It’s in his moments of silence that the brilliance of his performance comes through. At one point, he searches for his prosthetic arm with an air of both desperation and anger that plays perfectly. It’s unfortunate that the writing doesn’t allow the other actors much room to stretch their talents.

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Logan Lucky feels like a movie that Soderbergh just couldn’t decide what he wanted be. It has moments of more ridiculous humor that pokes fun at its subjects, then moments that tries to pay respect to them. The moments of heart — there’s a subplot with Jimmy’s daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) — that just don’t fit and a half-hearted FBI investigation led by Hilary Swank and Macon Blair that feels like an afterthought. I really wanted this movie to be good. For the cast, for Soderbergh. But there’s more disappointing moments than satisfying. Save yourself some time and just rewatch Ocean’s Eleven.

★★ out of 5

Watch Logan Lucky on Amazon!