‘Logan Lucky’ means luck for movie fans

Movie Review

Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson and Daniel Craig (from left) in “Logan Lucky”

He still was the screen’s James Bond at the time, but for a taste of Daniel Craig’s versatility, look no farther than “Logan Lucky.”

And he’s not the only attraction of the 2017 crime caper, which Showtime offers Friday, Sept. 30. It brought director Steven Soderbergh back to the screen in fine form, with a story that’s not that far in basic concept from his “Ocean’s Eleven” updates, here but still is quite original in terms of its very colorful characters.

Among his many talents, Soderbergh knows how to assemble a terrific cast, and he did so again here. His “Magic Mike” star Channing Tatum plays a personally and professionally troubled man who conspires with his war-veteran brother (Adam Driver) to rob North Carolina’s Charlotte Motor Speedway — and one of the others they enlist is Craig, as an ebullient Southern convict they have to spring from jail for the heist, then put back in.

Yes, there is a definite “Ocean’s” vibe to “Logan Lucky,” which proves to be very entertaining in its own way. Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis Presley) plays another family member who’s in on the scheme, and Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank, Seth MacFarlane, Katherine Waterston, Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson also populate the story. Some of their characters offer major surprises even if the crime itself is pretty straightforward, which doesn’t make whether it pans out any less suspenseful.

The “Logan Lucky” screenplay is credited to a Rebecca Blunt, who turned out an extremely assured and effective first movie script — if, indeed, there really is a “Rebecca Blunt.” It’s reportedly been confirmed that was a pseudonym used by Soderbergh’s wife, former entertainment reporter Jules Asner. However, Soderbergh himself has handled various aspects of his movies by assuming aliases for them in those jobs; he’s played so coy about the background of the alleged Ms. Blunt, it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise if he had a hand in the writing here, too.

Much of the pleasure of “Logan Lucky” comes from the sense of enjoyment you can feel from its performers, all of whom seem to appreciate that they have good material that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. That lets them loosen up with it, and nowhere is that more evident than with Craig, who obviously relished getting as far as possible as he could from Agent 007.

“Logan Lucky” just wants to give audiences a laid-back, fun time. That, it does, and for that, everyone who watches it is lucky indeed.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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