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Lucky -- Film Review

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PARK CITY -- Winning the lottery is "like throwing Miracle-Gro on your defects," says one interviewee in "Lucky," a doc about winners of multimillion-dollar prizes. But unexpected wealth can empower the recipient's virtues as well, and this likeable doc offers an assortment of case studies that, instead of fueling envy, may have viewers concluding that winning a few million isn't enough of a fairy-tale end to justify spending the cash on all those Quick Picks.

Filmmaker Jeffrey Blitz has already hit his commercial jackpot with "Spellbound," and "Lucky" doesn't have the irresistible characters that made that charmer a hit. Its stories are enjoyably diverse, though, and might entertain a small theatrical crowd before the film's eventual home-vid life.

Most colorful are tales that will generate pity or mockery: the mama's-boy bum who lived in a house shin-deep with garbage until buying that fateful ticket; the nut who, after winning, spent money so compulsively that he wound up with hundreds of pairs of identical pants and added a second story to his house without bothering to find out if it could support the weight. (Oh, and his family tried to kill him for the inheritance.)

The winners you'd rather emulate find the money a mixed blessing: One devout family gives large sums to charity, but eventually finds wealth so disruptive to friendships that they have to leave their home and move to a community full of rich people.

In between the other, sometimes heartwarming stories, Blitz uses crude animation to communicate some facts and figures (Americans spend more on the lottery than on any other entertainment, for instance) and shoots a bit half-heartedly for some broader social commentary with the story of a middle-aged factory worker who sometimes spends $70-100 a day on Lotto and who buys "dream books" (who knew these existed?) meant to translate dream imagery into lucky numbers.

What will that gambling addict think when she sees herself here, set against stories of those who hit their numbers? With any luck, she'll start finding better things to do with that not-so-disposable income.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival
Production company: Big Beach
Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Screenwriter: Jeffrey Blitz
Executive producers: Rebecca Morton, Liz Manne, Catherine Tait
Producers: Sean Welch, Marc Turletaub, Peter Saraf, Jeb Brody
Director of photography: Jeffrey Blitz
Music: Eef Barzelay
Editor: Yana Gorskaya
Sales Agent: Cinetic Media
No MPAA rating, 82 minutes