Movie Review: An animated film a few four-leaf clovers short of “Luck”

In the words of Simon Pegg‘s mother tongue and mother accent, what manner of “jobby-flavored fart lozenge” is this?

Two Oscar winners in the cast, plus Pegg and Pixar’s good luck charm John Ratzenberger, and “Luck” turns out to have none.

It’s an almost utterly-joyless animated exercise in tedium, a botched “Inside/Out,” “Arthur Christmas” or “Monsters, Inc.” “on the factory floor” treatment of the concept of “luck,” how it is manufactured, what prevents bad luck and the like.

A sweet but blander-than-bland lead teen character, Pegg voicing a black cat — “In SCOTLAND, black cats are considered very lucky!” — barely a sight gag in 105 minutes and nary a joke, you’d think Apple had apps that could concoct a better script. Better get on that, and donate it to Skydance Animation.

The three credited writers set out to teach kids what a movie that’s all exposition is like. The cat accidentally leads clumsy “unlucky” orphan Sam (Eva Noblezada) into “The Land of Luck,” where she visits the Research and Development Dept. “where real luck is created” — “Happy Accidents,” “Right Place, Right Time,” “Lucky at Love,” etc.

Luck is manufactured with the aid of a “randomizer,” thanks to “good luck stones” and “bad luck stones.”

Pegg’s cat character, “Bob,” is better as a sight gag. Otherwise, he’s stuck limply reciting expositional drivel such as “GRAVITY shift! Luck’s gravity is the opposite of ours!”


Sam follows this black cat into the luck netherworld in search of a lucky penny to give her fellow orphan — a little girl who still has the hope of finding a “forever family.” You know the drill. So does your kid.

“Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you’ll have good luck.”

Sam? She just aged out of the orphanage, never adopted, and she wants to make sure little Hazel doesn’t suffer the same fate.

The cat’s part of a sort of Luck, Inc., and that’s where the lucky pennies are made, kept and polished. Unlucky Sam had one and lost it. Thus, she follows the cat.

Whoopie Goldberg voices the boss, a leprechaun. Jane Fonda plays the dragon overlord of it all.

The animation is…adequate — inexpressive faces, for starters.

There’s no real conflict, no heart and not much point to a movie that aims to remind us that luck doesn’t exist, or at least doesn’t matter.

“It wasn’t all fun, but I wouldn’t change a single thing.”

Oh sure. Me, too. Except for this movie. I’d change the rhymes-with-white out of this dafty bowfin of a film, ye’bampots.

Rating: G, ever so inoffensive

Cast: The voices of Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, John Ratzenberger, Lil Rel Howery, Whoopie Goldberg and Jane Fonda

Credits: Directed by Peggy Holmes, scripted by Kiel Murray, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger. A Skydance Animation release on Apple TV

Running time: 1:45

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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