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The Lucky Ones (2008)



Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 72
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 46

The Lucky Ones features heartfelt performances, but is undone by the plot's overwrought parade of coincidence and contrivance.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 19

The Lucky Ones features heartfelt performances, but is undone by the plot's overwrought parade of coincidence and contrivance.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 11,692

My Rating

Movie Info

When three very different U.S. soldiers find themselves on an unplanned road trip across America, they form a deep bond that may be the closest thing any of them has to real family. T.K. Poole, Colee Dunn and Fred Cheever arrive in New York from Germany only to find their connecting flights canceled due to a power outage. Anxious to get to their respective destinations, they agree to share a rented minivan to suburban St. Louis where Cheever is to reunite with his wife and teenage son. From


Drama, Comedy

Neil Burger, Dirk Wittenborn

Jan 27, 2009


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All Critics (73) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (46) | DVD (1)

The Iraq war has thus far produced no truly memorable dramatic movies, as opposed to documentaries, and the losing streak continues with The Lucky Ones.

September 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is not the worst of the Iraq-themed movies of the past few years, and it's possibly the best acted of any of them. But you wish the bonding of these three people wasn't diluted by the trite scenarios and artificial circumstances of their saga.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As they hit the road, the scenes play out like TV sitcom vignettes with little holding the centre together. We find out details about the characters lives, but never feel we know them.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

McAdams and Peña are affectingly vulnerable, while Robbins convinces as a family man with strong paternal instincts.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Lucky Ones has plenty of heart and courage. If it only had a brain ...

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like its lead characters, Lucky is wounded, lost, and impractical, but it has a messy, winning humanity and an agreeably leisurely pace that almost redeems it.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Their real, unstated missions are more in the nature of relocating their souls and finding some elusive peace of mind.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

... captures the manner in which both the smallest and largest events on a road trip can build a sense of camaraderie among three strangers with very little in common.

February 26, 2010

If not for the warmth and likability of its characters and those playing them, The Lucky Ones would be a tiresome formula picture.

March 18, 2009 Full Review Source:

It feels like the writers were trying for dialogue that sounded natural and improvisational. Instead, it feels scripted and rehearsed. It's all phony balony!

October 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Sin Magazine
Sin Magazine

Ultimately I was left without any clear notion as to what was being said through the film and why.

September 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

In this interview, The Lucky Ones director Neil Burger speaks about understanding the modern soldier, his surprising casting choice of anti-war activist Tim Robbins as a veteran and why he relates the story while the Iraq conflict continues.

September 30, 2008 Full Review Source:

War/road trip dramedy is cliched but affecting.

September 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The direction is functional, workmanlike; Burger never steals the spotlight from his characters.

September 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The biggest disappointment is in this script, written by Dirk Wittenborn and Neil Burger who gave us the delightful Illusionistin 2006.

September 27, 2008 Full Review Source:

... reductive and unfunny ... think Coming Home crossed with Vegas Vacation minus Cousin Eddie ...

September 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

...benefits substantially from the strength and charisma of its three leads...

September 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Rachel McAdams keeps reminding me how good she is in every role she takes. In this movie, she just glows energy. Acting is one thing. How do you project energy? Through joy, anger and curiosity, she projects this vibe and she is the backbone of the film.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Can Magazine
Can Magazine

Based on the evidence here, director/co-writer Neil Burger may be the last American who's ambivalent about the Iraq War, and his movie suffers for it.

September 26, 2008
Salt Lake Tribune

While their circumstances may be forced, the three characters feel like real, complex, likable people. That's a real rarity in a film about veterans, no matter what the ideology is.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

The dialogue is often sharp and funny and the performances nicely pitched.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Each secret is more implausible than the last.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for The Lucky Ones

The Lucky Ones is one of those movies that surprised me, the trailer looked good, and it was a film that exceeded my expectations. Reading some of the reviews, I found that the film had its fair share of flack, and really I find this movie to be quite underrated. The Lucky Ones is a charming dramedy with a good cast of actors who have great chemistry on-screen. This film is quite good and it is an entertaining film with plenty of effective moments that really bring out the best out of the movie. The movie is far from perfect, but it most certainly doesn't deserve the negativity it has received. The Lucky Ones is worth seeing and what makes the film work very well is the fact that the characters are likeable and you sympathize with them. At first the movie is joyful, but then it takes a more serious turn, all the while keeping a humorous edge to the material, which makes this such a pleasant and surprising movie. The performance that surprised me the most was that of Rachel McAdams, who delivers one of her finest performances yet. The film is better than you might expect, and the story is very well layered to really make the film worth seeing. This is a terrific film worth your time, and it is far better than what the negative reviews has suggested. With a great cast, a charming, yet well constructed story, The Lucky Ones is a very good dramedy that is highly engaging from start to finish. The film's strength lies in its great characters and good performances, and with that alone, you can forget the film's shortcomings.
May 31, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

The lucky ones is full of conflicting ideas and contradicts itself at every turn. It's not as deep as it thinks it is either, often hinting at something grater than what actually transpires. It also has a very odd scene involving a tornado that is a little misguided (and that is me being very polite!). All that said, I quite liked it! I don't think any of the comments I have mentioned were intentional but somehow it works, it's so awkwardly quirky you just can't look away, serendipity at its kindest. It is also well acted, directed and well edited, using handheld cameras to its advantage.
November 16, 2010

Super Reviewer

Good movie. Not the fastest moving drama, but just the right amount of things going on the keep my interest. Watching these three soldiers go through so many different phases of problems and issues was very interesting. We got to watch them get closer and closer to feeling like family together. A feel good movie? Not sure. I am torn between liking the ending, and wishing it went a different direction...but I guess it was realistic.
October 14, 2010

Super Reviewer

Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, Michael Pena

After suffering an injury during a routine patrol, hardened sergeant TK Poole (Peña) is granted a one-month leave to visit his fiancé. However, when an unexpected blackout cancels all flights out of New York, TK agrees to share a ride to Pittsburgh with two similarly stranded servicemen, Cheever (Robbins), an older family man who longs to return to his wife in St. Louis, and Colee (McAdams), a naive private who?s pinned her hopes on connecting with a dead fellow soldier?s family. What begins as a short trip unexpectedly evolves into a longer journey. Forced to grapple with old relationships, broken hopes and a country divided over the war, TK, Cheever and Colee discover that home is not quite what they remembered and that the unlikely companionship.

-Really liked this film a lot. Rachel McAdams was so good in this movie. Tim Robbins.. I mean he is one of the best actors out there. He was amazing as always. Really liked Michael Pena. I haven't seen him in many films and thought he was great. The acting, the script, all of it was great. It was funny, sad, and just really good. I would call this a dramedy. Really good watch.
November 6, 2009

Super Reviewer

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