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The Lucky Ones

Disillusioned soldiers find themselves on a road trip.



Three Iraq War soldiers on leave share a van from New York City to Las Vegas. As expected, the strangers -- older reservist Cheever (Tim Robbins), career Army man T.K. (Michael Peña) and lost-soul-turned-girl-soldier Colee (Rachel McAdams) -- become buddies, and perhaps even catalysts: All are in need of life-changing directives, if not changes in career. Each has been injured, and T.K. has done three tours in Iraq. Director and co-writer Neil Burger (The Illusionist) doesn't break much new ground in the road-trip genre, but Lucky is a companionable ride-along. Burger mostly keeps the roadside wackiness in check -- most of the story happens in Anyplace, USA -- though there's an unforgivable deus ex machina in the shape of a tornado. Nor does Lucky get preachy one way or the other about the war; nonetheless, the undercurrent of real events grounds the narrative's more dramatic aspects. The film's title and ending are ironic -- or not; you're free to choose. Starts Fri., Sept. 26. (AH)

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