Thank goodness Steven Soderbergh returned from “retirement.” Not many filmmakers straddle the line of pop and art as well. The comic frame of Logan Lucky is no sturdier than the unfairly maligned Masterminds, which also took a funny look at the criminal underbelly of the Southern working class. (If you are so inclined, give Masterminds a whirl now that it is streaming; you might find some surprising delights.) Soderbergh’s masterful direction and the so-spectacular-it’s-almost-silly cast—Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane (eh), Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Hilary Swank and Daniel Craig, whose credited introduction perfectly exemplifies this movie’s cleverness—elevate this flick above similarly aimed heist comedies.
After getting fired from a construction job under Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jimmy Logan (Tatum, drawing more from his Cullman, AL origins than ever before) and his one-armed brother, Clyde (Driver, unleashing a hilarious accent so stylized it would not sound out of place in O Brother, Where Art Thou?), hatch a robbery scheme. All they have to do is break an explosives expert named Joe Bang (Craig) out of prison. This team is no Ocean’s Eleven; the film wittily refers to them as “Ocean’s 7-Eleven.”
Soderbergh perfectly pieces this puzzle from first-time screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (who just might be the director’s wife, Jules Asner) together, even if the final picture remains a bit hazy. The charm of the characters teeters on caricature and threatens to invade the neighboring territory of the Coen Brothers. Lower class Logan Lucky might ultimately find itself lodged in the upper middle of Soderbergh’s filmography, but his standard of filmmaking remains a lot higher than that of most wide releases.
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