The Movie: Lisa Kudrow, stay away from the Ephron sisters. Sure, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion wasn't a highlight of the 90s, but it had heart (not to mention one of the most bizarre dance sequences in recent memory). And it was a shame that the Academy neglected to nominate you for Best Supporting Actress for your excellent performance in The Opposite of Sex. But why, oh why, appear in Hanging Up, which sported a well-intentioned but heinous screenplay by sisters Nora and Delia Ephron, and why, oh why, follow it up with Lucky Numbers, directed uncoordinatedly by Nora?
The less said about Lucky Numbers, the better. It wants to be a caper film and it wants to be a comedy (though what type of comedy remains a mystery), but none of the ingredients are there as a weather man (Travolta), a strip club owner (Tim Roth), a lottery girl (Kudrow), a thug (Michael Rapaport), and a few trillion other people scheme to fix the lottery. The screenplay is horrible and most of the actors fare poorly; it is an all around mess that is excruciating to watch.
The DVD: Paramount deserves definite props for their DVD release of Lucky Numbers. The anamorphic transfer that preserves the film's 1.85:1 aspect ratio is near stunning, with vivid, richly textured colors, natural flesh tones, and no visible artifacting (there is some slight edge enhancement). Likewise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is impressive. Despite largely inactive surround effects, the dialogue is clear and the score sounds swell. Other audio options include English Dolby Surround and French Dolby Surround tracks and English subtitles.
Aside from the usual interactive menus and scene selections, the supplementary offerings include a theatrical trailer (widescreen), cast and crew interviews, and a feature-length director commentary. Nora Ephron does not provide any great insights into the themes (if there were any) of the move or the technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but this is her third DVD commentary and she is an engaging speaker.
The Recommendation: Lucky Numbers, keeping in line with recent Travolta vehicles, is a bad movie that fails on every level. Paramount, however, has given it a first-rate DVD treatment. Fans of the film will be happy to own the disc, and fans of torture will be content with a rental. If you fall into neither category, don't bother.