Love doesn't always arrive on schedule.
I watched the first five minutes of Lucky Seven when it aired on ABC Family and I was hooked. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me want more. So when I was offered this disc, I jumped on it, assuming it could only get better from there.
Facts of the Case
When Amy (Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Father of the Bride, According to Jim) was seven years old, her mother, dying and knowing she wouldn't be around to guide her through life, gave Amy a timeline of the key events in her life and the ages at which she should experience them. It started out with summer camp and running for class president, then went on to a trip to Europe and law school. And along the way, there were seven boyfriends, each one a milestone, with lucky number seven as "the one."
So when Amy meets Daniel (Brad Rowe, Billy's Holiday Screen Kiss), who is perfect for her in every way, she panics because she's only had five boyfriends before him and frantically looks for a loophole. She decides to slow things down with Daniel while she looks for an interim boyfriend, someone she can label number six in order to save the seventh spot for Daniel. She comes up with Peter (Patrick Dempsey, Can't Buy Me Love, Sweet Home Alabama), the manager of the bagel shop she frequents.
Confusion ensues as Amy reconsiders her decision, her life, and the infallibility of her mother's timeline.
I can't go any further in this review without bringing up the lighting. I'm not sure if director Harry Winer (SpaceCamp, House Arrest) was trying to accomplish something specific or if he just thinks sunshine is really, really pretty, but the result is that 80 percent of the movie is an overlit nightmare. Sun streams in from all angles, washing out entire shots and even scenes, with no rhyme or reason. But even the scenes that won't give you skin cancer are nothing spectacular. The colors are dull and lifeless, with blacks that are anything but pitch. Which is a shame, because the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is, unless I missed something, flawless. There's nothing to impede our viewing of Lucky Seven's lackluster cinematography.
Unfortunately, the lackluster theme carries over to the Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track. Nothing is necessarily wrong with the track—except, perhaps, for the two or three times I was compelled to adjust the volume between music- and dialogue-heavy scenes—but nothing is necessarily right either. It just is.
Which, is a perfect description for Lucky Seven itself. Nothing is necessarily wrong; nothing is necessarily right; it just is. And what it is is a typical, fluffy romantic comedy—cute, substance free, and no different from hundreds of other romantic comedies. Absolutely nothing differentiates this movie from the rest. As always, girl meets boy, but something about one of them must change before they can be together. We spend the rest of the movie waiting for that something to change, and then our protagonists live happily ever after. The End. Did we really need another formulaic romantic comedy to add to the collection?
Despite all that, though, Lucky Seven is still a cute and engaging movie. Much of this is because of Patrick Dempsey, who just keeps getting hotter as he gets older. He's in fine, adorable form here, with just the right amount of facial hair combined with just the right amount of attitude. Kimberly Williams-Paisley is pretty adorable herself, sure, but Dempsey is what will keep you watching until the end. How can you possibly turn away from that smile?
I return to the lackluster theme once more for my discussion of the bonus features, though perhaps "nearly non-existent" would be a better description. We're offered five trailers and a seven-minute featurette, and nothing more. It's too bad, really, because maybe a director's commentary would have given Winer a chance to explain his sun fetish.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Come on, what did you expect from a movie that first aired on ABC Family? It's cute, it made you chuckle here and there, and it even brought on a few tears the first time you watched the introductory scene (though so did that Hallmark commercial the other day…). All that and Patrick Dempsey? Quit complaining!
If you're inclined to watch Lucky Seven at all, just try to catch it on TV. The DVD offers nothing the television version doesn't. But don't go out of your way; I'm sure you can find something better to watch.
Lucky Seven is found guilty of unoriginality, while Harry Winer's crime is, we can only assume, wearing his sunglasses at night. Both parties are sentenced to put Patrick Dempsey's talents to better use next time.
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Scales of Justice
• "The Making of Lucky Seven" Featurette
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