I think John Travolta is batting a pretty low average at the movies these days. “Lucky Numbers” is just a mildly funny farce of bad luck and lotto fixing. There are a few good bits of dialogue but the juice just doesn’t flow to keep you engaged.
Travolta plays Russ Richards, a celebrity weatherman at the local Harrisburg, Pennsylvania TV station. Russ is in a mound of debt due to a recent investment in a snowmobile dealership just as the state is experiencing its mildest winter ever. They’re ready to foreclose on his house and he’s bummed his last borrowed dime from his boss and friends alike. Travolta overacts, mugs and rolls his eyes endlessly. Lisa Kudrow, his co-star, screeches and screams her way through as Lotto Girl Crystal who’s sleeping with their boss Dick (Ed O’Neill) as well as Russ. The best acting comes from supporting players Tim Roth as a strip club owner and Bill Pullman as a super lazy cop.
When Russ visits Gig (Roth) begging for a loan, it’s Gig who convinces Russ that he has other “options” to procure funds, then later, Gig hatches the plan for Russ to take advantage of his position at the station where they pull the weekly Lotto numbers. Law-abiding Russ seems aghast at the notion but it takes very little convincing from Gig before Russ sets the plan in motion. Crystal jumps at the chance to get in on the scheme and pretty soon the two are working hand in hand to rig the balls. Then everything bad that can happen, does.
Choice bits of dialogue will dislodge the popcorn sufficiently to help you let out a good laugh now and then, but there’s just nothing magical here. The characters and scheme tend to be annoying more than anything. And listening to Kudrow’s shrill mouth the whole time really is rather unappealing. The only thing that saves this film from total yuckdom is Roth and Pullman. I have no idea what induced them to make the film but they’re its only saving grace. Thank you, God.
Lotta says wait for the video. Why waste more money than you have to.