There are earnest war movies, there are jingoistic war movies—and then there are war movies in which a servicewoman cures her fellow soldier’s impotence by cuddling with him during a tornado. Ludicrous in the extreme, The Lucky Ones manufactures crisis after crisis in the name of making some vague statement on Iraq, the realities of which are largely unaddressed; in terms of insight, the film shows all the depth of a “support our troops” bumper sticker.
Returning from a base in Germany, our trio—Colee (McAdams), T.K. (Peña) and Cheever (Robbins)—arrive to find a power outage at JFK, which they immediately suspect is a terrorist attack. But the outage gives them an excuse to go on a cross-country road trip, the better to have bar fights with Indiana students who show comical disrespect for the military. When they arrive chez Cheever, his wife instantly announces she wants a divorce. Also, by the way, their kid needs $20,000 to go to Stanford. (Coincidentally, that’s both the value of Colee’s guitar and the signing bonus one gets for reenlisting.)
T.K., meanwhile, needs to find sex workers in Vegas before going home to his lady friend. (“If it’s not working, she and I got nothing to talk about.”) After further incidents involving prostitutes, Bible-thumping swingers and the police—would you rather avoid redeployment by going to Canada or going to jail?—The Lucky Ones emerges as a movie with no clear agenda other than perhaps driving an audience nuts.