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Monday, May 30, 2016

A BIT OF BAD LUCK -- Movie Review by Porfle

One thing's for sure--we're supposed to hate Brooks Caldwell (Cary Elwes, TWISTER, SAW, ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS) so much that we relish seeing him suffer the most horrific "Twilight Zone"-ish retribution imaginable.

Becauses that's what A BIT OF BAD LUCK (Indican Pictures, 2014) is all about--setting him up as a really bad guy and then beating him down over and over again, like a cartoon character getting driven into the ground like a stake by a giant sledge hammer. 

Trouble is, we DON'T hate him that much.  Or at least I didn't.  The first thing we see happening to this otherwise successful attorney is his wife Amanda (Teri Polo, MEET THE PARENTS) pointing a gun at him in his office.  Okay, he's been cheating on her, but let's face it, she's a little nuts and has been for quite awhile.  Already I was starting to sympathize with the guy.

He hooks up with his mistress, Heather (Agnes Bruckner, THE WOODS) at a motel that weekend but they have an argument which leads to her overdosing on pills. Thinking her dead, Brooks erases all evidence of his presence and hightails it out of there.  Again, maybe not exactly what I'd have done but understandable.  By now I'm rooting for him.

That's when A BIT OF BAD LUCK lives up to its name and poor Brooks embarks on a rocket sled right into Hell.  It's like one of those old horror movies where someone ends up stranded in Hicksville (or, in this case, Creechville) and, somehow, everyone he runs into is in on a plot to get him.  Sort of like a cross between DELIVERANCE and TWO-THOUSAND MANIACS. 

I must say, however, that for much of the film I was enjoying myself because a lot of it does come off as a really black comedy.  It reminded me of one of those "escalating misforture" stories a la THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS where the more unbelievably messed up things get the funnier it is.

Brooks flees the motel only to find that his car has been vandalized.  He takes it to a garage to get it fixed and it disappears.  He checks into the fleabag motel of all time, goes to a bar full of hostile rednecks, and then discovers that several of them are related to Heather and they all somehow know exactly who he is.  That's when the real fun starts. 

And as I said, it is kind of fun, or maybe anti-fun, to watch the guy stay one step ahead of a whole town full of crazy people who all seem to be members of the We Hate Brooks Club. Highlights include his encountering a role-playing prostitute in a cabin in the woods who thinks he's her next customer, and a bunch of snotty teens having a wild party who end up beating the crap out of him for wanting to use their phone. 

First-time writer-director John Fuhrman really builds it all up and does a great job of filming it, and the cast is generally rock solid, including Marshall Bell (TOTAL RECALL, STARSHIP TROOPERS) as the man who seems to run Creechville and its mysterious secret society.

There comes a point, however where things turn really nasty, and instead of being funny the movie devolves into a long, bitter diatribe against Our Mr. Brooks as he becomes the straw man in a weird feminist revenge fantasy and suffers more abuse than the back wall of a shooting gallery.

I was even afraid for a minute there that it was going to go all EDEN LAKE on me and leave me depressed for a week or two. 

While A BIT OF BAD LUCK doesn't quite reach the level where I required grief counselling after watching it, it did leave me wondering what the point of it all was.  I  enjoyed parts of it here and there, but boy, was I ever relieved when it was over.

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