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.
The plot functions in a rudimentary fashion setting up one contrived complication after another, engendering a desire, despite a few amusing scenes and pleasant company, for the trio to arrive at their respective destinations as soon as possible.
The Lucky Ones takes a decent premise -- three soldiers returning from Iraq facing domestic challenges upon their arrival home -- and crams so much forced drama into it that the movie devolves into a hack buddy picture.
Even when it feels contrived, The Lucky Ones is enhanced by Mr. Peña, Ms. McAdams and especially the terrific, always surprising Mr. Robbins, in performances so likable and well timed they carry you aloft, like a flag.
It isn't unpleasant to spend two hours with these three soldiers, although it might have been more enjoyable to spend the time getting to know them rather than force-feeding them artificial road bumps.
It's hard to find the genuine heartfelt moments in The Lucky Ones, a story about three Iraq War soldiers on a brief road trip back in the U.S., under the clutter of narrative contrivances and coincidences.