Steven Soderbergh’s post-retirement comeback, Logan Lucky follows brothers Jimmy (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver) as they conspire to pull off a North Carolina-based heist – with the film detailing the extensive planning and eventual execution of said caper. It’s perhaps not surprising to note that Soderbergh delivers a quirky environment that’s firmly in place virtually from the get-go, as Logan Lucky is chock-a-block with precisely the sort of offbeat elements one has come to expect from a Soderbergh picture – with, especially, the various characters coming off as almost typically idiosyncratic Soderbergh creations (ie every single figure here, from the protagonists down to one-scene guest stars, boasts oddball personality traits). The filmmaker, working from a script by Rebecca Blunt, employs an off-kilter narrative that’s rife with bizarre digressions (eg Jimmy and Clyde’s encounter with a cocky British promoter), and although this does ensure that there’s not much in the way of momentum here, the pervasively affable atmosphere, coupled with a series of engaging lead performances, goes a long way towards keeping things interesting within the movie’s first half. There’s little doubt, however, that Logan Lucky‘s absurdly overlong running time of 118 minutes does become more and more problematic, with the padded-out environment dulling the impact of the pivotal heist and ensuring that the film peters out to an almost shocking degree. (It doesn’t help, certainly, that scripter Blunt copies the here’s-how-everything-was-accomplished ending of Ocean’s Eleven.) It’s ultimately impossible not to wonder why Soderbergh felt compelled to come out of retirement for this, as the movie, despite its raft of appealing attributes, comes off as a forgettable caper that could (and should) have been so much better.
** out of ****