As that first credit-card bill of the new year rolls in, you might, like us, wonder what you would do if you won the lottery. If this doc is any indication, you’d either: (a) slowly piss it away at the dog tracks over the years, (b) blow it all on crazy investment schemes and out-of-the-woodwork relatives, or (c) giggle a lot and maintain your sensible Midwestern coupon-clipping lifestyle. Do the options feel a little limited? So does this doc, which follows six lottery winners and tells us (get ready for it…) that different people react in different ways. Is that all there is?
The people are certainly interesting. Louis Eisenberg won the New York State Lottery in the early 1980s while he held a job changing lightbulbs for the city (seriously). Now, after a few decades of the high life, all he’s got left are scrapbooks full of photos of him with second-tier celebrities and an affable self-effacing attitude. And even after a group of Minnesota high-school cafeteria workers split a multimillion-dollar jackpot, they continued to serve sloppy joes to pimple-faced teens and hit the garage sales on weekends.
But La Blanc can’t decide whether he’s working on a small scale (in which case, he should spend the entire film with two or three people) or on a broader analysis of our money-obsessed culture (which calls for more than just “aren’t they interesting” details). Instead, La Blanc aims for the middle ground. It’s a shame because Eisenberg alone is interesting enough for a whole doc.