Steven Soderbergh's Lucky Logan is "criminally entertaining"
Channing Tatum, Riley Keough and Adam Driver plot a daring heist in Steven Soderbergh's crime caper Logan Lucky...
CRIME still pays for Oscar-winning film-maker Steven Soderbergh, director of Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, in a criminally entertaining caper, which sacrifices plausibility for quirky characters and generous belly laughs.
The unlikely masterminds of Logan Lucky are downtrodden redneck brothers, whose hare-brained scheme makes one convict snort "You must be as simple-minded as people say!"
"People say that?" retort the lovable siblings in stereo.
Rebecca Blunt's lean script engineers unexpected twists and some slickly orchestrated set-pieces within a compact two-hour running time.
Similarities to Soderbergh's other films are inevitable and Blunt playfully addresses the issue via a TV news report, which cutely nicknames the attempted robbery "Ocean's 7-Eleven", referencing the chain of 24-hour convenience stores across America.
Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are a winning combination as the blue collar thieves, who believe they can outwit the authorities, aided by a colourful supporting turn from a heavily tattooed Daniel Craig and a hit-or-miss southern accent.
His exaggerated drawl is pitch perfect, however, next to Seth MacFarlane's portrayal of an obnoxious British billionaire.
Vowels and consonants are strangled to the toe-curling limit. He is the film's glaring comic misfire.
Construction worker Jimmy Logan (Tatum), a one-time star footballer waylaid by injury, loses his job on the same day he learns that his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) intends to relocate to Lynchburg with her new beau.
The move from West Virginia will make it difficult for Jimmy to see his pageant queen daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), and he threatens legal action.
Jimmy channels his frustration into planning a heist with his one-armed brother Clyde (Driver).
Their target: Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
Cash from the concessions stands is deposited throughout the day using a network of pneumatic tubes and the Logans are convinced they can break into the vault during a 600-mile race on Memorial Day featuring Nascar driver Dayton White (Sebastian Stan).
The brothers visit convicted safecracker Joe Bang (Craig) and promise to spring him out of jail for the day to access the vault.
To protect his cut, Joe insists his numbskull brothers Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson) take part in the robbery.
"All the Twitters, I know 'em," boasts Fish, who claims to be a computer wizard.
Jimmy and Clyde's beautician sister Mellie (Riley Keough) becomes a willing accomplice and the ludicrous scheme swings into action.
Logan Lucky gambles on the innate charm and likeability of the principal cast, and they dutifully steal our affections. Snappy editing maintains a brisk pace and dialogue is peppered with some amusing one-liners ("Are you one of them Unabomber types?"; "I looked it up on the Google".)
The script plays up hillbilly stereotypes before Soderbergh subverts them for his tantalising finale which intimates this isn't the last we have seen of these light-fingered dreamers.
Rating: three stars
LOGAN LUCKY (12A, 119 mins) Thriller/Comedy/Romance.
Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Farrah Mackenzie, Seth MacFarlane, Sebastian Stan.
Director: Steven Soderbergh.
Released: August 25