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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

‘Hard Luck Love Song’ Review: A Glossy Take on a Gritty Tune

Movies based on popular songs often offer specifics to better capitalize on the hooks. For Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billy Joe, the 1976 film adaptation took a question that the song doesn’t answer: what exactly did Billy Joe and the narrator throw off the Tallahatchee Bridge? On the other hand, all that was required for the 1954 film White Christmas was the title of a song by Irving Berlin, a few more songs by Irving Berlin, and a star wearing Santa hats.

“Hard Luck Love Song” is based on Todd Snyder’s “Just Like Old Times” tune. Snyder is not a superstar, but he is a troubadour with a solid cult following and a good way of writing story songs. The Old Times is a straightforward, ironically poignant tale in which a pool vendor calls his motel escort and is soon greeted by his former high school sweetheart.

The film, co-written and directed by Justin Corsby and executive produced by Snyder, puts flesh – mostly attractive to movie stars – on the bone of a song. Jesse Michael Dorman and Carl Sophia Bush are pictured at revenge parties fueled by alcohol and cocaine. However, by the time they light up for the bar (mostly to get in third gear), they both look as freshly washed as the steam on the good side of the deodorant ad.

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The actual storyline of the song ends after about an hour and 10 minutes of the film. Then “Hard Luck Love Song” falls apart even more. The twists and turns are cruel and stupid and have little to do with the harsh reality of Snyder’s world. Corsby has a surplus of energy for filmmaking, but he also makes many mistakes in his senior years, including the awkward needle-dropping of John Spencer Blues’ Bell Bottoms, which was finally fulfilled in Edgar Wright’s 2017 opening scene of Baby Drive.

Heavy Luck Love Song
R rating for language and revenge and cocaine parties. The duration of the performance is 1 hour 44 minutes. In theaters.

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