clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Offbeat 'Logan Lucky' is a fun riff on Soderbergh's 'Ocean's Eleven' pedigree

“LOGAN LUCKY” — 3 stars — Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough; PG-13 (language and some crude comments); in general release

If the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies left you with the urge to upgrade your wardrobe, “Logan Lucky” might inspire a day at the races.

For “Logan Lucky,” director Steven Soderbergh has swapped George Clooney, Brad Pitt and their expensive suits for Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and some hayseed accents out of “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?” for a caper movie that refers to itself as “Ocean’s 7-11.”

Tatum and Driver play Jimmy and Clyde Logan, a pair of small-town, blue-collar brothers who team up with an incarcerated safe-cracker, their fast-driving little sister, and a cast of misfits to rob a state-of-the-art NASCAR venue.

Jimmy is out of work thanks to a bum knee, and struggling to keep partial custody of his daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), who is about to move out of state with Jimmy’s ex-wife, Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes). Clyde runs the local bar, reflecting on his multiple tours in Iraq that robbed him of half an arm while periodically teaming up with his brother to confront hothead out-of-town visitors like British race sponsor Max Chilblain (Seth MacFarlane).

Desperate to improve their circumstances, the brothers decide to raid the vault of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a NASCAR venue so vast it practically operates as its own city. To succeed, they enlist their younger sister Mellie (Riley Keough) and an imprisoned safe-cracker named Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). Since Bang isn’t due for release until well after the best window for the job, Clyde gets himself thrown behind bars with Joe as part of an elaborate ruse to spring him the day of the heist.

“Logan Lucky” plays out like a redneck “Ocean’s Eleven” in most every sense, sending up Deep South stereotypes and weaving a nuanced, intricate plot that features multiple-layered plans and blink-and-you-miss-them clues. Soderbergh’s trademark slick style is in full play, and David Holmes also returns to augment a fantastic soundtrack that adjusts for “Logan Lucky’s” good old boy “Dukes of Hazzard” aesthetic.

Tatum more or less acts as the heart of the film — he’s pretty much the Danny Ocean of the operation — and “Logan Lucky” opens with a charming scene between him and his daughter that waxes philosophical on the work of John Denver. But “Logan Lucky’s” most entertaining element is watching Driver and Craig’s interpretations of their characters. Clyde feels like he was lifted from a Cohen brothers’ film, and Craig’s transition to a brilliant but foolish West Virginia criminal will be a joy for anyone who has grown used to his recent James Bond performances.

The extensive cast is packed with familiar faces. Sebastian Stan and Hilary Swank appear in supporting roles as Chilblain’s driver and as the FBI agent assigned to investigate the break-in, respectively, and poor David Denman is once again cast as the “other man” as car sales kingpin Moody Chapman, Bobbie Jo’s new husband. Country fans may also spot Dwight Yoakam in a cameo as Bang’s prison warden, and Katherine Waterston of the recent “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” fame even turns up as a mobile-blood-bank-driving love interest for Jimmy.

All the fun could be tightened up a bit, and “Logan Lucky” does drag in spots, but overall Soderbergh’s effort is a fun and entertaining offbeat riff on the caper movies he’s offered up in the past.

“Logan Lucky” is rated PG-13 for language and some crude comments; running time: 119 minutes.