“Lucky Break” adds a few new wrinkles to the venerable and resurgent formula of romantic comedy. Writer/director Ben Lewin, whose last effort was “The Favor, the Watch and the Very Big Fish,” comes up with some oddball ideas again, but his screenplay lacks the wit and zaniness that might have propelled this modest offering into wider distribution. Moderate results can be expected.
Film harks back to the Rock Hudson-Doris Day comedies of the late ’50s and early ’60s. Partly based on the director’s own experiences, pic opens promisingly with a sequence that intros attractive Gia Carides as Sophie, a young writer with a vivid, sensual imagination. Working alone in a public library, she’s overheard reading her raunchy material out loud by Eddie (Anthony LaPaglia), a slick jeweler and practiced womanizer who already has his hands full with a demanding fiancee (Rebecca Gibney). Sophie falls heavily for Eddie, and he’s obviously interested in her. However, since she was sitting at a desk when they met, he doesn’t know her secret: As a result of childhood polio, one of Sophie’s legs is paralyzed.
Convinced he’ll be put off when he discovers she’s crippled, Sophie spies on Eddie from a distance. When she breaks her paralyzed leg in a freak accident, an opportunity for happiness presents itself, and she pretends her leg is in plaster as the result of a skiing mishap.
The two embark on a brief relationship that’s complicated by a nebulous subplot involving stolen jewelry and a Russian cop (Jacek Koman) who also fancies Sophie. But Lewin, despite his tantalizingly offbeat premise, has come up with a screenplay that never really sparkles. Carides, the spiteful rival from “Strictly Ballroom,” is a delight as Sophie, but LaPaglia (her real-life fiance) seems to be taking it all too seriously. A major miscalculation is a sequence in which the amorous Eddie cuts his tongue on Sophie’s plaster-encased leg and is forced to undergo painful surgery.
Production values are all elegant, with Vincent Monton’s photography taking full advantage of the attractive people and settings. Paul Grabowsky’s music adds needed zest to the proceedings.