(Rated PG-13) 2 1/2 Bags of money (out of 4)
Imagine James Bond, Magic Mike, Kylo Ren (“Star Wars”), and the ex-wife of Tom Cruise in a movie together. The aforementioned is the grouping we have in the new film “Logan Lucky”, directed by Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean’s 11”). The story is a heist comedy starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, and an almost unrecognizable Seth MacFarlane.
The story line follows Jimmy Logan (Tatum), a blue collar worker and former high school football star in his small West Virginia town, is currently working a construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, until he is unexpectedly laid off. When Jimmy returns to West Virginia to see his daughter in a local beauty pageant, he begins to devise a plan to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway with the help of his Iraq War veteran brother Clyde (Driver). Of course, the two cannot plan this alone, so Jimmy recruits a couple of bumbling helpers, the incarcerated Joe Bang (Craig), an explosive expert, and Jimmy’s hairdresser sister Mellie (Rilley Keough) to help. Due to his time working construction at the Speedway, Jimmy was able to learn about the access tunnels running beneath the track, which will aid him perfectly in his plan. The only stumbling blocks include Joe Bang being in jail, and Jimmy’s daughters pending beauty pageant which is being held the same time night as the planned robbery. Jimmy and Clyde pull off the perfect temporary escape for Bang and Clyde, who purposely had himself arrested so he could plan Bang’s escape from inside the jail. When Bang and Clyde are able to escape, the group heads quickly to Charlotte to pull off what they hope is the perfect heist. Meanwhile, Jimmy knows he must do the job quickly so he can race back to West Virginia to see his daughters beauty pageant. As expected, the group does encounter a few stumbling blocks, one of which involves MacFarlane’s over-the-top character Max Chilblain, a sports drink salesman/race sponsor. Is our group of robbers successful in their effort? The answer should come as no surprise less we have no movie. The film is full of “dry” humor, and director Soderbergh has his tongue firmly planted in cheek when it comes to the behavior of the mountain characters. However, in no way did I feel the director was poking fun at mountain folk, as he actually conveyed the characters endearing. The performances are all wonderful, with Alabama boy Tatum pulling off the perfect Appalachian accent. Even Driver, probably best know as the latest “Star Wars” villain, does a great job with the accent. As for 007 himself, the British Craig is a riot in the role of the bleached blonde, tattooed, hilariously named Joe Bang. In fact, Craig stole scenes from his formidable co-stars. Holmes is less successful in her role as the Jimmy’s ex-wife Bobbie Jo, but then again her dialogue isn’t exactly thrilling. Keough, as Jimmy’s sister, is the stronger of the female roles in this film, and plays the hair dresser with the multi-colored finger nails to perfection. Overall, “Logan Lucky” is one of those left-of-center films that you can enjoy in all of its eccentric glory. However, while the film didn’t make me a NASCAR fan, it still left me a fan of the lead actors.