Good Luck

on March 07, 1997 by Alex Albanese
   If good intentions could be broadcast directly onto the screen, "Good Luck" would win an Oscar. It's easy to admire much about this small-scale, character-driven production. The first release from East West Partners Films, the new home of former October Films head Jeff Lipsky, tells the story of a paraplegic (Gregory Hines) who wants both adventure and a chance to change society's image of the disabled. He enlists the help of a bitter, suicidal ex-pro football star ("The Whole Wide World's" Vincent D'Onofrio) who lost his sight during a game in a freak accident. After convincing him that--with trust--their disabilities cancel out, the pair set out on a standard movie-style roadtrip through the Pacific Northwest with the goal of competing in a whitewater raft race.
   Hines and D'Onofrio do excellent work, making their characters' disabilities completely believable, and several intermittent sequences of "Good Luck" achieve the goal of being an entertaining road-movie comedy about two regular guys who just happen to be disabled. Unfortunately, director Richard LaBrie was unable to ride out some rough passages in the script by Bob Comfort ("Dogfight"), so "Good Luck" is swamped long before the boys ever reach the river.
   The movie's downfall isn't attributable to one or two isolated, glaring faults, but a general overall unevenness; sometimes the filmmakers draw the audience in completely, yet other times not a single onscreen line or action rings true. Guy-talk banter is keen and funny in one scene is awkward and obvious in the next. Eventually, this rollercoaster ride between finely observed detail and dreadful cliche, between thought-provoking insights and feel-good-movie lies, makes moviegoers pray for enough good luck for the movie to be over. Given some of the excellence that's transpired onscreen, that's too bad. Starring Gregory Hines, Vincent D'Onofrio and Max Gail. Directed by Richard LaBrie. Written by Bob Comfort. Produced by Richard Hahn, Shirley Hahn and Andrej Kamarowski. An East West release. Comedy. Rated R for some sex-related language (rating being appealed to CARA board). Running time: 98 min.
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