As heist movies go, “Logan Lucky” is a hilarious romp. This is a laugh-out-loud film from “Ocean’s Eleven” director Steven Soderbergh. But don’t expect to see a bigger than life heist movie with all of the Hollywood glitz and star glamor and sophistication of the “Ocean’s” movies. This looks more like an indie film with a real down home feel. In fact, the cast is so likeable, you feel as if you are one of them as they hang out in the local West Virginia bar, the Duck Tape owned by Clyde Logan (Adam Driver).
Clyde is convinced that the Logan family is cursed. And we may come to believe this when we see big brother Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) limp out of the boss’s office after being fired from his job because the big wigs noticed he walked with a limp and did not want to assume the liability of a preexisting medical condition. Actually, Jimmy is pretty decent about the whole thing – he’s that kind of guy. But Clyde can trace the family’s hard luck to a host of events including his left forearm being blown off during his second tour of Iraq and Jimmy’s loss of an NFL career when his knee blew out – hence the preexisting medical condition. This list goes on and sweeps in little sister Mellie (Riley Keough) who is still unmarried and drives an old souped-up red Nova when she isn’t working at a tacky hair salon.
Jimmy has a hard time keeping a job. He is also dealing with custody issues over his daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) with his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) who is married to a jerky car salesman Moody Chapman (David Denman). Dad and daughter seem have a great relationship, but when Bobbie Jo threatens to move across state lines so Moody can open a new car lot, there will be additional legal hurtles to deal with.
Regardless of how we get there, Jimmy decides his best course of action is to plan a heist of the Charlotte Motor Speedway because they do a huge cash business and Jimmy knows where the money literally flows, since he previously worked on excavation under the race track shoring up the underside of the track which is beset by sink holes. So Jimmy enlists the aid of his siblings and explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and Joe’s weird brothers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam Bang (Brian Gleeson). Problems arise because Joe Bang is “In-Car-Cer- Ated” as Joe emphatically explains to Jimmy, and he has only a few months to go before his release. No problem; Jimmy has a plan for that – although it involves sending brother Clyde back to jail for a short spell.
As it turns out, the speedway is hosting its biggest event of the season, the Coca Cola 500. This merely adds to the drama, and the noise, and certainly to the size of the haul.
This is a totally endearing movie with a fabulous cast of characters who rip off line after line of hilarious repartee (if there is such a word in this West Virginia vocabulary). The Bang brothers are phenomenal in their roles and you can’t help adoring their eccentricities. Craig’s performance is especially note-worthy as a musclebound convict with a great sense of comic timing.
What I like about this movie is its lack of slickness – it is the antithesis of “Ocean’s Eleven”, and I love Soderbergh for serving up a fresh heist that leaves us smiling and laughing at the same time. Bravo!