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'Lucky' unlucky in many ways

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Even back to his days on "Northern Exposure," I've never been a fan of characters played by actor John Corbett.

 
 
"Lucky"

When: 10 p.m. Tuesday on FX.

Starring: John Corbett, Billy Gardell, Craig Robinson.

   
 

Couple that with my feelings about gambling (the high stakes make me too nervous for it to be enjoyable) and there's probably no way FX's new series starring Corbett as a gambler would be my kind of show.

Personal taste aside, "Lucky" fails in other ways.

Much was made of the profanity on FX's "The Shield" when it premiered, but it never bothered me because it was germane to the tense situations depicted in a police drama. On "Lucky," the profanity is more noticeable and seemingly more gratuitous.

Tuesday's premiere, written by creators Mark and Robb Cullen, introduces Corbett as Lucky, and immediately there's a credibility gap. He's introduced as a gambler and used car salesman adept at wheeling and dealing. But the creators also want viewers to buy his sincerity, which, in the early going, is a tough sell.

In a scene where he tells his boss he needs money to repay his in-laws for his wife's funeral, it comes off like a con. Turns out he's serious. When he cries in front of the in-laws, it also seems like an act. Once again, though, it's supposed to be sincere.

The pingponging back and forth between the honest and the outrageous reaches its apex in the fourth episode when Lucky gets a job selling bologna.

"Lucky" elicits an occasional laugh, but mostly it's an unpleasant show about an unpleasant character in unpleasant situations.


You can reach Rob Owen at 412-263-2582 orrowen@post-gazette.com . Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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