Funny thing. My childhood flashed before my eyes when I watched Lots of Luck this week: Martin Mull (he was Bart Gafooley in How the West Was Fun with Mary-Kate and Ashley!), Annette Funicello (okay, maybe not so much my childhood, but I respect her work as an original Mousketeer), Tracey Gold (Carol Seaver from Growing Pains!), Fred Willard (everything!), and Polly Holliday (Marva Sr. from The Parent Trap with Lindsay Lohan!). Now THAT’S a cast. The film was steered by prolific director Peter Baldwin, and written by Deborah Cavanaugh and Eric Loeb.
Be warned, there are a few insensitive lines in this ’80s movie. Otherwise, the story is interesting, but I think it would make more sense as a half-hour sitcom episode. Annette Funicello’s character, Julie, buys lottery tickets with her friend/co-worker, Jessie, every week. One day, Julie and Jessie check their results and discover a winning ticket — but there’s a big problem. Jessie didn’t enter that day, only Julie. And so begins a saga of Jessie being angry that she doesn’t get a cut of all this money Julie has won.
Martin Mull’s character is Julie’s husband, Frank. He works in a factory with his buddy A.J. (Fred Willard), Jessie’s husband. Frank and Julie and their kids live with Frank’s mother (Polly aka Marva from The Parent Trap). The whole family is thrilled to win the lotto, but as you might predict, they blow through the cash pretty quickly. Julie and Frank take a honeymoon, the kids start buying stuff, and everyone keeps winning more stuff, which they eventually have to pay taxes on.
Oh, I must mention the awful car Julie drives around. She can’t get the thing to move after she brakes, so anytime the car has stopped, someone has to help push it to get it to start again. And yet! One of the possessions the family sells is a new car Frank won. Julie’s old car becomes even more relevant at the end of the movie. Frank and A.J. enter a race for $25,000, and they decide Julie will drive the crappy car. She does, she wins, and Frank and A.J. open their own auto parts business.
This was mostly fine, but I will honestly say that it isn’t my favorite of the premiere films I’ve seen so far.