Road trip: Iraq

The Lucky Ones finds humor in soldiers returning from Iraq
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REVIEW Given the subject matter — soldiers returning home from Iraq — it should come as no surprise that the title The Lucky Ones is more than a little ironic. But things here aren't quite so cut-and-dry. Despite its focus, the film maintains a stubborn refusal to get too bogged down in the melancholy or the politics; it's a serious drama that's often very funny and mostly lighthearted. At the movie's center are three soldiers — Cheever (Tim Robbins), Colee (Rachel McAdams), and TK (Michael Peña). Accidentally thrust together, they embark on an unscheduled road trip, each with a separate mission. Cheever is trying to put his life back together; Colee wants to meet the parents of her late boyfriend; and TK hopes to restore function to his penis, which was wounded by shrapnel. Seriously. Though not the most conventional Iraq war story, the road movie formula is routine and elements of the plot feel somewhat stale. What elevates The Lucky Ones is a trio of memorable performances. Rachel McAdams is particularly impressive as Colee, delivering a complex portrayal of a woman ranting about the "lake of fire" one minute and raving about vibrators the next. She reflects the film's strongest assets: finding the humor in tragedy and sighting the mundane in the unreal.

THE LUCKY ONES opens Fri/26 in Bay Area theaters.

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