Toni Collette is fabulous and utterly convincing in this low-key drama about a magazine music writer whose latest assignment is to go in search of her ex-boyfriend, cult rock hero Matthew Smith, who mysteriously disappeared 10 years ago.
Set against the vibrant Seattle music scene, independent director Megan Griffith's film is part romantic comedy, part road trip and part drama. The blend of genres, great performances and an oddball character played by Thomas Haden Church, allows Lucky Them to avoid sinking into typical rom-com territory - even if there is a sniff of romantic possibility in the air and comedic misunderstandings along the way.
Collette plays Ellie Klug, the alter ego of Emily Wachtel, who co-wrote this semi-autobiographical story with Huck Botko.
Stuck in a rut, Ellie spends her days writing for Stax music magazine and her evenings at gigs discovering new musicians she can't help but sleep with, including the cute Lucas, played by The Blacklist's Ryan Eggold.
Ellie's pot-smoking boss (an adorable Oliver Platt) is struggling to keep his magazine alive in the digital era, and gives her the option of writing a story people may actually read, such as the 10th anniversary of Matthew's presumed suicide, or lose her job.
Reluctantly, Ellie starts searching for Matthew, and this is where Thomas Haden Church comes in. Short on funds, Ellie hits up Charlie (Church), a wealthy, eccentric old boyfriend, for cash. Charlie, whose latest hobby is making documentaries, agrees on the condition he can tag along and film the journey.
At first, it's hard to reconcile Charlie and Ellie being in the same film. Charlie pops up out of nowhere, making the sidekick subplot feel a little forced and clunky. He does, however, bring welcome wit and unpredictability, with excessive gestures and pronouncements, such as, "There's a crispness to my writing that I enjoy."
For all the distractions, humour and chaos that surround Klug, this is essentially a story about one woman dealing with loss, and the climax is surprisingly moving, and amusing, thanks to Collette's genuine performance.
Lucky Them touches on the price of fame, and conjures up memories of Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith. But, more importantly, it's about those left behind and what they face in not knowing what happened to their loved ones.
Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Toni Collette, Oliver Platt
Director: Megan Griffiths
Running Time: 97 mins
Rating: M (Violence, offensive language, sex scenes)
Verdict: Clunky narrative, great performances.