Relying on PURE LUCK to locate the kidnapped daughter of a high-ranking industrialist, accident-prone accountant Eugene Proctor teams up with black detective Raymond Campanella in this sometimes laughable yet subtly superstitious comedy.
The woman for whom they are searching, Valerie Highsmith, was last seen falling out of her Mexican hotel room window while chatting on the phone with her dad. Pondering her mysterious disappearance, Valerie’s father summons detective Campanella to conduct an investigation in Mexico.
Ironically, Mr. Highsmith’s company psychologist advises him to include another unfortunate person since Valerie is notoriously accident-prone. Advocating a “coincidence misfortune theory,” the psychologist believes that Valerie will be found with the help of someone as “unlucky” as she is. Testing his theory, the psychologist calls in awkward accountant Eugene Proctor, who haplessly selects a wobbly chair with a broken leg to sit on when the boardroom contains plenty of normal chairs.
As an incentive, Proctor is offered a double salary, a hefty $50,000 reward and complete leadership over the investigation. Actually, detective Campanellla is secretly in charge, but he must act as if he is merely Proctor’s assistant. Thus begins the search for Valerie, which leads the twosome into all sorts of mischief yet gradually allows them to develop a healthy working relationship.
Initially annoyed by Protor’s clumsiness, Campanella grows to appreciate his troublesome partner regardless of circumstances. Campanella’s transformation from resentment to a devotion which may mean laying down his life for his friend as they nearly face death is heartwarmingly convincing and believable. In fact, his sacrificial friendship toward the end of the movie brings to mind Christ’s words in John 15:12: “My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.”
Also sensitively portrayed is Eugene Proctor, who is hilariously haphazard without being corny or predictable.
Regrettably, the first third of PURE LUCK is excruciatingly dull, and sometimes even embarrassing. At the screening, several members of the audience walked out in disgust. Thus, the lackluster script devoid of the necessary conflict to engender good dialogue undermines the high-quality directing, acting and cinematography.
Worse, the strong characterizations and positive values are marred by the superstitious theme of PURE LUCK, which is occultic in nature. Ultimately, Campanella grows to believe in “luck” (a term some say is derived from Lucifer), despite his first impression that it doesn’t exist.
Of course, Scripture refutes “luck” from Genesis to Revelation, as our Almighty God consistently works in the lives of his children, as well as in unbelievers. The Lord loved us with an everlasting love before the foundation of the world, marking his children out to be saved and predestining a path for them to walk in (Ephesians 1:4-5). Even the ungodly cannot escape the hand of our sovereign God, who allows them to be handed over to wickedness (Romans 1:18-32). Thus, the Sovereign God, not luck, controls the destiny of men, though He allows us the free will to choose condemnation by rejecting His loving salvation.
(L, VV, A/D, O, M) 2 obscenities & 5 profanities; slapstick violence, accidental falling, man grabbed by nose and slammed against wall, breaking mirror with head, people held at gunpoint, police raids, physical blows to the head, detective forces gun into man's mouth and threatens to shoot, fist fighting, murder, man's leg shot, & off-screen police brutality; smoking cigars, drinking alcohol & bar scenes; a belief in luck and "coincidence misfortune;" and, kidnapping & theft.