Lucky Stiff (2014)

Lucky Stiff (2014)
  • Time: 78 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Musical
  • Director: Christopher Ashley
  • Cast: Dominic Marsh, Nikki M. James, Pamela Shaw


A young down-and-out British shoe salesman named Harry Witherspoon takes his dead American uncle to Monte Carlo for the best time of his life—a week of fun, dancing, gambling and sun. If the young man fulfills his uncle’s request to the letter, he will inherit the $6 million left to him. If he doesn’t, the money will go to the Universal Dog Home of Brooklyn. As Harry races from casino to nightclub to beach to bedroom with his dead uncle, he is chased by a desperate put-upon optometrist; his controlling, myopic, trigger-happy sister; an avaricious French chanteuse; a mysterious Italian playboy; as well as a young woman from Brooklyn dead set on getting that money for the dogs. Guns go off, disguises go on, champagne corks pop, nightmares come to life, romance blossoms, dogs bark, and everyone sings! It’s a zany, frothy, colorful and fast-paced musical farce with a very happy ending.

One comment

  • Just a quick one here. I have been waiting for the opening of the film version of the stage musical, Lucky Stiff. I love this show and with the original creators working on it I had high hopes. It has been playing film festivals for the last year but it finally opened. At least it opened in a theater in New York. Other than that it’s On Demand.
    I am at a distinct disadvantage because I know the show and what works on stage does not necessarily work on film. The reality of film makes this musical difficult to pull off not because of the music but because the locations are real. Adding animated sequences did not solve this problem, it just made it worse. The story becomes so outlandish that to place it in a real casino makes it appear out of place. People wouldn’t really behave this way in the real world. In today’s world it is also hard not to make a comparison to what’s happened with guns in public.
    It could have been successful but director Christopher Ashley didn’t seem to have a solid grip on his cast. Lynn Ahrens, who wrote the lyrics and the script, tried to make it a movie when it needed to flirt with the audience’s imagination the same way it does on stage. They also cut one song that is one of the best in the show but in the realistic setting it would be hard, if not impossible, to make it fit in. The songs come off the best with Stephen Flaherty’s music and Ahrens’s lyrics still strong
    Dominic Marsh and Nikki M. James are the leads and do a nice job of their songs and the acting. Pamela Shaw and Jason Alexander go right over the top with their characterizations, which is fine, but twice they show up and it’s obvious we, the audience, have missed something because of the costumes or behaviors.
    In supporting roles are Dennis Farina, Jayne Houdyshell, and Cheyenne Jackson all doing great work but again, at least for Jackson, there’s a sequence that comes out of nowhere and goes no place.
    I give this movie 2 heart shaped boxes out of 4. There’s still much to admire and I may have taken to harsh a look but I was disappointed. It’s a riot on stage. It just isn’t much on film.

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