Movie Review: The Lucky Ones (Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams. Michael Pena) 2008

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Drama



Fred Cheever (Robins) Colee Dunn (McAdams) and TK (Pena) are all Iraq war vets, coming back home on leave.  Colee and TK Poole are on 30 day leave, they’ve both been shot, and Fred is hurt the most seriously, he’s got three crushed vertebrae in his back.  They were all supposed to fly out of NY to their destinations, but s blackout put them all in the same car to St Louis.  St Louis is where Fred Cheever lives, happily or so he thinks, with his wife and son.  But when he gets home, Fred finds his wife wants a divorce, and his son got half a scholarship to Stanford.  In need of money Fred goes off to Vegas to hit it big playing roulette.  Colee wants to go to Vegas to return her boyfriend Randy’s guitar, and TK wants to go to Sin City get his “mojo” working with the help of some professional women of the evening.TK’s got his life planned out, get married to his fiancé, make the officer corps, and climb the ranks. Colee has nothing figured out, she just wants to spend some time with her boyfriend’s parents before she ships back to Iraq, and both TK and Colee wants to stop Fred from killing himself because of his imminent divorce  What happens when these 3 Iraq vets get to Vegas?


This is a surprisingly funny and touching movie about three army vets who form a bond over a long cross country drive. Is this a war movie or an anti-war movie?  There are parts of this movie that talk about the war, but it’s more of a road movie, it’s more about three people with common military experience learning about and from each other, and defending themselves from the outside world who fails to understand what day to day life is like in the army.  Rachel McAdams is superb in this movie as Colee, she is at times vulnerable, sometimes ready for a fight, and equally believable in both circumstances.  Michael Pena is also very good as TK, he is so sure of himself at first, and then as things happen, he realizes that the life he has planned, may not be the one that he wants to live after all.  Tim Robbins is ok, as Cheever, here’s where his politics get in the way, I never bought the fact that Cheever was committed to military service and that kind of ruined it for me .But other than Robbins cast as an officer, this is an excellent movie. Only two of the storylines resolve themselves, the third one is left open, and the movie is probably better for not tying up all the loose ends.


The Lucky Ones:  It’s better to be lucky than good, but this is both.


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