A major, high profile commercial flop at the time of its release, Lucky Lady is not quite as bad as the critics claimed at the time -- but that's about the best thing that can be said of it. The biggest problem is the screenplay, which is unfocused and veers wildly in terms of tone -- at times low comedy and slapstick, at others too deadly serious (and sometimes too violent, in the context of the rest of the film). The creators could not decide how seriously to take the basic situation, robbing it of necessary reality, and the dialogue is generally poor. (The general level of wit is exemplified by Liza Minnelli's comment at one point that it's so quiet "you can hear a fish fart.") Stanley Donen's direction is weak and generally unimaginative, and some of the editing is jarring. Minnelli is good in the production number, "Get While the Getting is Good," but is otherwise abrasive, shrill and annoying. Gene Hackman is okay but unusually dull; of the stars, only Burt Reynolds turns in a decent performance. He's fun and makes much of the film watchable. A follow-up to her excellent Cabaret, this unlucky Lady was still much better than Minnelli's next starring role, the deadly A Matter of Time.
by Craig Butler review