Lucky (January 10/04)
While Lucky does have an intriguing premise - a failing writer receives inspiration from a talking dog - the combination of a severely annoying central character and a complete lack of plot does the film in before it's even had a chance to get going.
Michael Emanuel stars as Millard Mudd, a cartoon writer who hasn't had a fresh idea in weeks and is running low on money. He seemingly spends all his time either drinking profusely or imagining himself in a variety of situations (usually involving women). While on a drive one night, he runs over and kills a dog named Lucky - who he takes home, thinking it's just injured. After leaving it in his bed for a week, he finally comes to the conclusion that it is, in fact, dead. But just as he's burying the dog, it springs back to life and begins talking to him (with the distinct voice of a black guy, oddly enough). Millard is initially skeptical of receiving advice from a talking dog, but after it becomes clear that Lucky's not going away, Millard begins writing again using Lucky's ideas. Things take a sinister turn, though, when Millard meets a woman named Misty (Piper Cochrane) - who disappears after learning of Millard's unique ability.
Lucky gets off to a bad start almost immediately, with Millard babbling (via voice-over) about metaphysical matters. In fact, this is the primary reason why Lucky doesn't work - Millard is an incredibly unappealing character, and the film spends most of its time listening in on his ample thoughts. This guy makes George Costanza look like a winner, which isn't a good thing (obviously). There's a fine line between obnoxious yet endearing and just obnoxious, and Millard remains firmly entrenched in the latter.
Not helping matters is the realization that the majority of the film's events are likely in Millard's head, starting with his relationship with Lucky. Screenwriter Stephen Sustarsic asks us to care about this twisted figure, but never really gives us a reason to. Nor is his plight all that engaging, especially when you consider the fact that his level of happiness doesn't increase once he begins writing again (well, it does for a few minutes, but then he kills someone).
It's hard to understand exactly what the point of Lucky is. It fails as both a a black comedy and as a portrait of an insane, desperate man; it's instead thoroughly unpleasant on many levels.