The Lucky Ones


The Lucky Ones

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 75


Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,785
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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 there, the other two plan to fly to Las Vegas where the macho T.K. wants to make an important stop before seeing his fiancée and the tough yet naïve Colee plans to pay a visit to a fallen fellow-soldier's family. But, when Cheever's homecoming turns out to be a far cry from what he anticipated, the trio's one-day drive expands into an impromptu cross-country marathon. Along the way, they experience a string of surprising adventures ranging from the hilarious to the heartbreaking. As their interstate journey takes them from a barroom brawl to a high society dance to a bizarre Sunday morning church service, T.K., Colee and Cheever discover that home is not quite what they remembered and the unlikely companionship they've found in one another might be what matters most of all.


Tim Robbins
as Cheaver
Annie Corley
as Jeanie Klinger
John Diehl
as Tom Klinger
Mark L. Young
as Scott Cheaver
Howard Platt
as Stan Tilson
Molly Hagan
as Pat Cheaver
Spencer Garrett
as Pastor Jerry Nolan
Coburn Goss
as Peter Tilson
Arden Myrin
as Barbara Tilson
Kirk B.R. Woller
as Army Psychologist
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Critic Reviews for The Lucky Ones

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (47)

  • 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.

    Sep 29, 2008 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top 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.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • McAdams and Peña are affectingly vulnerable, while Robbins convinces as a family man with strong paternal instincts.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • The Lucky Ones has plenty of heart and courage. If it only had a brain ...

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

    Nathan Rabin

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Lucky Ones

  • May 31, 2014
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 31, 2011
    I was recommended this film by a member of the RT community and, despite the negative reviews, I decided to give this a shot. On their return home on a thirty day pass from Iraq, injured soldiers Sgt TK Poole (Michael Pena) and Private Colee Dunn (Rachel McAdams) meet Sgt Fred Cheaver (Tim Robbins), a solider returning home at the end of his tour of duty. Cheaver wants to return home to his wife and son, Poole and Dunn want to go to Las Vegas - Poole seeking a cure to his impotence following a shrapnel injury and Dunn to return a guitar to the family of her boyfriend. When a blackout affects flights in New York, Cheaver, Poole and Dunn start a journey which takes in bar fights with college students in Indiana, spiritual healing services and invitations to a party in Kansas City, a picnic which leads to encounter with some travelling sex workers and a tornado and, ultimately, a journey of discovery for the three soldiers as they find out about each other and the country that they have become detached from and a country that appears to have changed in their absence. Having not known about this film before, I went into it with open eyes and I'm glad I did. The term "dramedy" is one that's getting a lot of use at the moment, but this is a film that uses it well. The humour is one the main at a chuckle level, but there are some belly laugh moments - such as the request made by Colee at the spiritual healing session on behalf of TK and Fred and a lesson in when discretion should be the better part of valour, especially when bedrooms have thin walls. The drama is in sync with the humour, as the three characters look to compliment each others deficiencies and answer questions that are posed to them such as to the main reasons for serving in the Army and what lives they are coming back to. All three leads work extremely well alongside each other as a sort of surrogate family for each other, you have the paternal Fred trying to keep TK and Colee in check whilst trying to make sense of his own problems. Tim Robbins is well suited to this role as a man who has to serve as referee and man who needs emotional and physical healing. TK is, in effect, this snobbish, self important elder borther figure who dismisses Colee's life style choices and has no faith in her abilities. Michael Pena is great in this role as TK's behaviour is irritating to begin with, but as the journey goes on you get to see some of the reasons behind TK's need to develop himself. Rachel McAdams, for me, is the standout as Colee. She is the young firebrand - trying to prove herself to Fred, TK and in some respects, to herself for her own self worth. McAdams has to give Colee an adult level self awareness to tie in with the humour and drama within the script whilst maintaining a childlike innocence throughout which is endearing and great to watch. If you've not had the chance to watch this, give it a try on rental. I enjoyed this journey... I hope you do too.
    Theta S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2010
    Three soldiers returning from Iraq after sustaining injuries received during combat expecting a normal 30 days of leave. When they arrive at JFK Airport in New York, all fights have been canceled, because of a blackout. The three decide to rent a van and drive to St. Louis, but what started out to be a short 14 hour trip ends up being a journey across America. Along the way, the three soldiers who had just met become close friends but expectations of home are not what they thought it would be. The actors all do good jobs and Michael Peña was completely captivating in his portrayal of a proud young vet from a military family on his way to meet his girlfriend, with his masculinity compromised by a war injury. His character is the most subtly poignant as he confronts his own fears about his manhood.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2010
    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.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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