Lucky Numbers [2000]

John Travolta plays Russ Richards, a small-town weatherman who is such a local celebrity that he even has his own table at the local Denny's. He obviously sees himself as a big deal about town, and he's got the spending habits to prove it, including payments on a big house and a fancy Jaguar. His unstable life is further complicated by the fling he's having with the station's lotto girl (Lisa Kudrow), who is also having an affair with the married station manager (Ed O'Neill). On the verge of bankruptcy, Russ asks the advice of his good friend and strip club owner Gig (Tim Roth), who cooks up a plan to fix the lottery. The hardest part of the whole scheme turns out to be finding a trustworthy person to cash in the ticket. This is a mean-spirited comedy, which is to be expected from writer Adam Resnick (Cabin Boy, TV's Get a Life), but not from director Nora Ephron (You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle). Then again, maybe she always has patronized the characters in her movies. Clearly, the casting needed to tap into the oddball surrealism of someone like Chris Elliott, whereas Travolta is just playing a dumb, self-deluded guy, and Kudrow, in her most unlikable role yet, is playing not just a ditz but a ditsy sociopath. The movie is not a total waste, thanks mostly to some stunning supporting performances by Tim Roth, Ed O'Neill, and especially Bill Pullman as the lazy cop. Overall, a mixed bag. --Andy Spletzer

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