It’s not quite “Ocean’s Eleven,” but critic Moira Macdonald says heist film “Logan Lucky,” starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, is a kick. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
Sixteen years ago, Steven Soderbergh released “Ocean’s Eleven,” a remake of the 1960 Rat Pack caper that created a jazzy breeze of its own. (George Clooney, leader of a dapper Las Vegas band of thieves, is so deliciously smooth you could spread him on toast.) Now Soderbergh, who famously announced four years ago that he was getting out of the feature-film business, is back with another heist film: “Logan Lucky,” in which a twangy band of conspirators attempts to rob a North Carolina speedway during a NASCAR race. And while it’s not quite “Ocean’s Eleven,” it’s nonetheless a kick, particularly during movie-starved late August.
There’s nothing particularly surprising about the plot — it’s basically every heist movie ever made — and Soderbergh occasionally overplays the redneck-Southern-hillbilly stereotype. But he and the actors are clearly having a ball. Working from a screenplay by Rebecca Blunt (a person who may or may not actually exist), Soderbergh keeps the action light and playful, and lets the cast members find their own silliness within it.
This is a world in which Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are brothers — Jimmy (Tatum) is a sweet-natured unemployed single dad who’s hard up for money; Clyde (Driver), who lost an arm in the Iraq war, is a bartender at a dive called the Duck Tape — and if you’ll buy that, you’re likely fine with everything else Soderbergh is selling. The prices are low, but the merchandise is irresistible: particularly Driver’s way of speaking in jagged pronouncements; Hilary Swank’s hilariously noirish turn, late in the movie, as a foxy Fed; and most of all Daniel Craig, playing a peroxided inmate named Joe Bang. Asked how things are, on a prison visit, he slurs, “I’m sittin’ on this side of the table wearin’ a onesie. How do you think it’s goin’?” Who knew James Bond was a secret goofball?
Movie Review ★★★
‘Logan Lucky,’ with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes, Dwight Yoakam, Katherine Waterston, Seth MacFarlane. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, from a screenplay by Rebecca Blunt. 119 minutes. Rated PG-13 for language and some crude comments. Several theaters.