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Lucky 13
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by Todd LaPlace

"Unlucky us."
1 stars

Thanks to “Gilmore Girls,” there are probably a lot of Lauren Graham fans out there that might be willing to take a chance on this teensy little direct-to-DVD release. Don’t. Please, just don’t.

Lauren Graham may be the most underappreciated actress ever, which is less a comment about her considerable talents and more about Hollywood’s inability to recognize them. Since becoming a breakout star thanks to the lovely and quirky “Gilmore Girls,” Graham has been dragged through the worst cinematic sludge Hollywood has had to offer. Her role in the relatively harmless “Evan Almighty” must seem like a coup after “Because I Said So” and “The Pacifier.” And despite being a critical darling, “Gilmore” was so ignored by the industry that the recent revamping of the Emmy’s nomination rules (in order to spread the wealth beyond the bland standards) was dubbed “The Lauren Graham rule” — and it still failed to net her a nomination!

I’d like to say that things are better for Graham in the direct-to-DVD romcom “Lucky 13,” but if there was anything in this 78 minute movie resembling either romance or comedy, then I must have already zoned out from the boredom. Perhaps things could have been improved if Graham hadn’t once again been relegated to the neglected role of love interest. In this case, the love interest is Abbey, a beautiful painter that’s set to leave her small town life for a shot at New York, much to the chagrin of Zach (Brad Hunt), a childhood friend that needs to tell her about his true feelings before she leaves. But when confronted with the fact that he’s little more than a schlub, Zach and best friend Bleckman (Harland Williams) set out to revisit Zach’s romantic past in order to correct his past flaws and faults so he can be the perfect man by the time Abbey leaves — in three days.

Only a truly lazy movie would ever think that something that ludicrous would work, especially with a character as wildly unlikable as Zach. He’s the manager of the local garage and still lives with his parents (John Doe and a wasted Debra Jo Rupp), although in what looks like a converted shed in the backyard. His closest friend is little more than a lecherous embarrassment who tries to hit on sorority girls at the local dive bar. In short, he’s a loser, which may be why his fantastic voyage into his dating past is littered with so many wrecks. There’s the girl with the speech impediment (are we supposed to think that’s funny?), the spandex girl who obviously still has the hots for him, the former babysitter that took his virginity (which is sometimes called statutory rape) and his most recent conquest who tells him he might want to get tested for gonorrhea. It’s no wonder no one thinks he’s good enough to get a woman like Abbey — he’s not! What does it say about the quality of this flick if I don’t even want him to get the girl in the end? Even the asshole that’s taking her to New York is a better fit than Zach.

Nothing much happens in this entire movie, which could normally be seen as a complaint, but I guess it’s preferable to this movie actually lasting any longer than it already does. Even at 78 minutes, it was still pushing the boundaries of what I’m willing to sit through in the name of cinema. Sitting on the studio shelf for about five years between its production and release, you’ve got to wonder why MGM even bothered to release it at all, especially since it’s barely even a movie. Lucky for us, “Lucky 13” is such a pittance of a movie that it’s pretty easy to forget, even as you’re ejecting the DVD from the player.

Have studios actually watched an episode of “Gilmore Girls” before? Have they actually seen how talented Lauren Graham actually is? Why do they insist on continuing to cast her in crap like this? At this point, another Vin Diesel comedy is starting to look like a step up.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11830&reviewer=401
originally posted: 08/22/07 04:41:44
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USA
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  DVD: 15-Mar-2005

UK
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Directed by
  Chris Hall

Written by
  Chris Hall

Cast
  Brad Hunt
  Harland Williams
  Lauren Graham
  Sasha Alexander
  Debra Jo Rupp
  John Doe



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