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MGM Studios DVD presents
"You know this perfect girl your whole life, but you never go for her."
DVD ReviewLucky 13 is the kind of comedy Woody Allen might make today if he were three or four decades younger. It's an inward-looking character study of a guy who's been lucky in love, but consistently with the wrong kinds of women, when the girl of his dreams has been there all along. Blend in some sight gags, an imaginary supportive figure (remember how screen legend Humphrey Bogart made his presence known in Play It Again, Sam?), some good writing, and it's almost like the carefree, silly Woodsman back from the era of Take the Money and Run.
Zach (Brad Hunt) is a garage mechanic in the small, laid-back small town of Bloomington, Indiana. Nothing much happens and life segues uneventfully from one day into the next until one fateful morn when Zach's loyal lifelong friend Abbey (Lauren Graham) announces she's headed to NYC to realize her dream of becoming an artist, courtesy of a dealer who's offered her a job. No big deal, right? I mean, things like that happen out of the blue to all of us, right? Life changes, people move on and so do we. But Zach's having a hard time turning the page, for he's harbored one long secret crush on Abster since the day she sweetly offered him a chicken kabob from behind the wooden fence that separated their houses. Like many of his fellow bachelors who should have known better, he's re-examining what went wrong; why has he wasted his sexual energy chasing and catching mindless skirt flirts and not acted upon his feelings for the one who's been right all along?
Left with three days until Abby's departure, he does the psychological retrospective crash course in the hopes of transforming himself into the man he wants to be so he can win her heart before the credits pop up. But first, he's got to go back through his previous 12 paramours (don't you just love guys that keep score?), so she can be "lucky 13".
Writer/director/producer Chris Hall's cinematic debut is a few feet shy of a homer for a first at-bat, but it's an enjoyably whimsical, fast-paced 78-minute effort blessed with good performances from an eclectic, talented batch of players. Hunt is more than affable in a William Katt/Greatest American Hero kind of way as the lead; comic Harland Williams continues a string of great supporting performances as the equally befuddled-in-love best pal; and beloved Gilmore gal Lauren Graham proves her versatility in going from the supremely confident, all-knowing Lorelei of her WB series to a gentle, almost shy girl-next-door type that's just as appealing. Look for nice turns from Debra Jo Rupp (That '70s Show) and former X guitarist John Doe (who's developed into a pretty darn impressive character specialist over the years) as Zach's quirky parents, a very young pre-8 Simple Rules Kaley Cuoco as Zach's kid sis (already displaying the confidence that's made her one of TV's most underappreciated comic actors), and a supremely wacky turn by NCIS's Sasha Alexander as the most comically appealing of Zach's past loves (the likeable actress also served in a co-producer capacity for the film).
Oh, almost forgot; Lucky's equivalent of the imaginary friend that comes to soothe our protagonist's fragile ego from time to time that I alluded to earlier? Playboy and Baywatch babe Brande Roderick.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: Terrific transfer awash in rich colors with noticeable naturalness and nary an anomaly to be found.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: Thanks to an offbeat soundtrack filled with snippets of good tunes (88 Lines About 44 Women by The Nails, Stacy Q's Two of Hearts, and Just Got Lucky from Jo Boxers for example), this 5.1 soundtrack is a little more adventurous than your average independent film or comedy. Even the rears come into play from time to time with active ambience and sound effects; dialogue is crisp and easily understood.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring What movies are the other trailers? When Will I Be Loved, Kiss the Bride, Sex Is Comedy, Confessions of an American Girl, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, "MGM Romance" on DVD
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: Save for a varied collection of other MGM titles, those hoping for more are decidedly unLucky.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsAn above average entry in the straight to video sweepstakes after a few years on the shelf, Lucky 13 is one of those low-key rainy day flicks that may surprise those not expecting more than so-so rental fare. A doozy of a curio.
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