With “Luck,” you either have it or you don’t. Some can go through their entire lives not needing it, while others have a case of bad luck. So Skydance Animation took that concept and turned it into their first film. And it’s not easy being the new kid on the block, especially when you’re next to Disney, Pixar, Warner Bros Animation, and Sony Pictures Animation. But even though Luck is rough around the edges in its animation and execution of the story, it’s got plenty of heart and likable characters whose selflessness is something we should all aspire to have.
“Luck” follows Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada), a foster child who has moved from home to home, unable to find a forever family. And because of that, along with a string of comedic mishaps, Sam believes she is the unluckiest person on Earth. However, she has her best friend Eva to keep her spirits up. Although Sam is moving out because she is aging out of the home, she promises Eva that she will find a lucky penny to add to her box of international good luck charms.
And lo and behold, a chance encounter with a black cat named Bob (Simon Pegg) leads to Sam finding what she has been looking for, literally and metaphorically. So Sam’s luck has turned around. While she can experience a brief moment of good luck with no more mishaps at home or work, she accidentally flushes the penny down the toilet. Sulking over her recent loss, Sam runs into the same black cat and decides to follow it, hoping she can turn everything around for the better. Soon she finds herself in the Land of Luck, and learns that it can talk, but good luck is also a product created by leprechauns, dragons, and unicorns and then magically distributed around the world.
So Sam and Bob go on an adventure searching for this elusive penny that will hopefully help Eva find her forever family while discovering all of the complicated red tapes that come with the creation and distribution of luck.
The thing with “Luck” is that it overcomplicates a relatively simple concept by layering new ideas on top of one another. It attempts to take a similar approach that “Monsters Inc.” took by trying to make the world feel more corporate in its creation and distribution while staying industrious in its manufacturing. Though it sounds like something wonderfully fun on paper, “Luck” creates a confusing network of set pieces that aren’t as cohesive as the characters make it sound.
Even though “Luck” is a bit unrefined and rough around the edges, there is still plenty to like about it. Individually, the luck pitch meetings are a laugh riot, while the manufacturing and distribution look wonderful. Even how the Land of Luck deals with a particular crisis by having rabbits wearing hazmat suits cleaning up messes got a little chuckle out of me. For a world that tries to pass itself off as magical, it is ironically, in a comedic way, industrial and enterprising.
If anything, “Luck” hinges on the Sam and Bob dynamic. Sam’s sunny disposition and unrelenting optimism balance Bob’s cranky, leave me alone attitude. See, Sam makes the most of what she’s got, even though what she’s got is a lot of bad luck. But that doesn’t deter her or make her wallow in pity. Instead, she always sees the bright side of things and keeps moving forward even if it feels like the world is against her. Sure, she may not have been able to find her forever family, but she finds that she’s always had family in the friends she’s made at the orphanage and the craft store she works at. And despite making happy and colorful accidental messes at home or at work, she doesn’t quit and persists in making the best of it. It’s a simple yet effective message on staying confident and hopeful.
And Sam’s good cheer helps with keeping things light and fun. It’s an excellent personality juxtaposition to Bob’s crankiness. Often, the playful banter proves that Bob shouldn’t have such a pessimistic outlook on life. In contrast, Bob’s attitude provides a reality check for Sam. It’s not so much one is correct, and the other is wrong, but more of striking that balance.
Sure, “Luck” may be rough around the edges and could have used some refinement. Still, in Sam and Bob’s quest to find a lucky penny to help Eva find her forever family, the film teaches us a lot about the importance of the idea of family, friends, and what luck ultimately means to us.