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First Look Review - Lucky Bastard

Things turn ugly on the set of a reality porn production.

Directed by: Robert Nathan

Starring: Don McManus, Jay Paulson, Betsy Rue




Lucky Bastard is an NC-17 found footage thriller about pornography. Are you sold yet? Most of you are probably thinking of Boogie Nights, but sadly, this is nothing like, and nowhere near the quality of Paul Thomas Anderson's film, in any aspect. Lucky Bastard starts off in classic found footage fashion with cops going over a bloody crime scene before quickly flashing back a couple days. This method can be effective, but here it just takes the tension out of the story like air out of your chest after a good hard punch to the gut. It does more harm than anything and the film probably would have been better by starting from the beginning of the story.
This is where we are introduced to Don -- the producer of an online pornography site called Lucky Bastard whose niche in the industry is filming male viewers meeting and eventually having sex with their favorite stars – as he successfully convinces his best starlet, Ashley Saint, to do a scene with one of her many fans, Dave. At first Dave seems like the typical guy, but once he gets out to Hollywood and meets with Don, Ashley, and the crew, it is pretty obvious something is off with him. As he claims to have watched the show before, and therefore should know how it goes, it seems like he does everything in his power to try to mess up this opportunity he claims he wants. Once he messes up too many times, things go off the deep end, and the body count starts to rise.
The actors are fine for the most part because most of the roles are so under developed that you don’t really care about what happens to them. Rue is the biggest stand out here as she has the most acting range required out of the cast, and she pulls it off quite well comparatively. The idea of the film is a pretty good one that dabbles in multiple taboos that rarely get discussed, but where it suffers is the execution. The script isn’t bad, but I feel the filmmakers held back somehow. If they were willing to take the doomed NC-17 rating, why not go all out with the story, blood, and effects and make it something that really earns the rating? Instead, it feels like they chose to keep the rating as a way to intrigue a slightly larger audience into watching for a few extended sex scenes that, while pleasing to the eye, do nothing for the story or characters.
Sadly, I think the film's biggest downfall comes from being presented in found footage. While the genre can, it often doesn’t have much time for character development because its stories usually take place in such a small window of time that characters can't be fleshed out. Ultimately, the film's plot device does an okay job at making the film feel like one of the Lucky Bastards productions. Had the film been presented in a traditional style, it would have better served the story, actors, and intensity of the film as a whole.
4/10
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