Saturday, April 13, 2013

Triskaidekaphilia: 'Lucky 13' (2005)

On the 13th of each month, I write about a movie whose title contains the number 13.
Shot somewhere around 1999 but not released until 2005, Lucky 13 probably only found distribution after such a long time thanks to co-star Lauren Graham's Gilmore Girls fame. It certainly doesn't deserve attention for anything else -- not its lame, half-assed story, weak dialogue, annoying characters or unfunny jokes. And certainly not for charisma-free leading man Brad Hunt, whose performance is so smarmy that I initially assumed he must be the writer and director as well, putting together a vanity project about how attractive and charming he is.

But no, Hunt is just the crappy actor hired by actual director Chris Hall to play 20-something loser Zach, who's spent his entire life pining away for his neighbor Abbey (Graham). When Abbey announces she is moving to New York City to become an artist, Zach finally asks her out on a date, and he has just a few days to make himself the perfect boyfriend material for Abbey. Thus he decides to revisit all 12 of his past girlfriends to learn why he could never hold onto a relationship.

This is a pretty standard contrived rom-com setup, but Hall and his co-writers completely screw it up with terrible pacing, lame jokes and barely sketched characters, including all of Zach's exes, many of whom barely even get any lines. Only a couple of his exes actually serve their ostensible plot purpose and give him some advice; otherwise they just show up for bad jokes or as background filler. I'm not entirely sure there are even 12 of them.

In addition to Graham, Lucky 13 is full of soon-to-be-famous faces, including Kaley Cuoco, Jenna Fischer, Taryn Manning, Ever Carradine, Pamela Adlon and Sasha Alexander (also a producer on this mess). There's also Harland Williams in a surprisingly subdued performance as Zach's goofy best friend, plus X's John Doe and That '70s Show's Debra Jo Rupp as his parents. The movie isn't worthy of any of their talents.

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