By Bradley Griffith
How can you go wrong with a plot that involves a bunch of rednecks from West Virginia who decide to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the longest race of the year, the Coca Cola 600? It’s a great set up for a movie, though it’s too bad that the idea for the plot of “Logan Lucky” was the best thing about the movie.
The Logan family of Boone County, West Virginia, is cursed. Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) is happy to tell anyone and everyone about the curse, especially his brother, Jimmy (Channing Tatum). Clyde and Jimmy are two shining examples of the Logan curse. Clyde lost his left hand and a portion of his left forearm in the military and Jimmy was a star football player before blowing out his knee.
Clyde works at a bar called Duck Tape and Jimmy is a construction worker on project to fill in sinkholes under the Charlotte Motor Speedway. At least, Jimmy did work there until he was fired because he didn’t disclose his knee injury on his employment application. Clyde and Jimmy’s sister, Mellie (Riley Keough), works as a hair stylist.
These three siblings come together to plan a robbery of Charlotte Motor Speedway using Jimmy’s intimate knowledge of the tunnels underneath the race track and the vault where the money from concessions is transferred during events at the track. Their problem is that they need a safe cracker, someone who knows how to create a controlled explosion. The only person they know that fits that description is in prison.
Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) is in prison for six more months. Jimmy and Clyde can’t wait that long because the construction project underneath the track will be completed within the next five weeks. The boys concoct a hare-brained scheme with the help of Mellie and Joe’s idiot brothers to break Joe out of prison, complete the heist, and sneak him back into prison before anyone knows he was gone.
“Logan Lucky” tried to be clever and witty, but was unsuccessful. There were several funny moments, but most of the movie was simply ridiculous. The way they broke Joe out of prison and then returned him on the same day was nothing short of ludicrous, and utterly impossible to have completed with no one the wiser.
When making a comedy about people from a specific region of the country, specifically when you intend to laugh at those people, filmmakers must be very careful. There’s a fine line between laughing with someone and laughing at them. Much of “Logan Lucky” crosses the line between funny and being insulting to the people of West Virginia, including the terrible fake accents of the actors. When regional accents are done right, you don’t even notice them.
The plot of the movie was also too complicated. The group of goofy and oddball characters that attempted to execute such an intricate heist added some humor to the movie, and there were several interesting cameos by actors such as Seth McFarlane and Hilary Swank that made the movie a tad more enjoyable. Watching seasoned criminals or ordinary people trying to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway would not have been funny at all.
But, in the end, the plan was so complex that dozens of separate events had to occur with perfect timing to make the job successful. There’s no way that each and every nuance could have worked to their advantage, especially when the movie goes to great lengths to show that essentially all of the characters are blooming idiots.
“Logan Lucky” is a comedy that’s not that funny. You’ll likely find yourself wanting to laugh because of the crazy plot and the unusual characters, only to find yourself at the end of the movie still waiting for the laughter that never comes.
• • •
Rated PG-13 for language and some crude comments.