I’m not at all familiar with the films of Nadia Tass, but I am a huge fan of Danny Glover which is what drew me to Pure Luck (1991). Apparently Pure Luck is a remake of La Chèvre (1981), though I can’t really speak to the relationship between the two films since I have never seen the original. But as far as Pure Luck is concerned, it seems to me to be another of Danny Glover’s buddy-comedies made after the success of Lethal Weapon (1987) that also includes the amazing Gone Fishin’ (1997).
Glover’s silly white sidekick in Pure Luck is Martin Short, and they’re on an assignment to find Sam Wanamaker’s accident prone daughter who has gone missing in Mexico. Wanamaker has partnered a P.I. (Glover) with his own accident prone accountant (Short) with the hope that Short’s own bad luck will lead Glover to the girl.
This is really familiar territory. Short is essentially reprising his role from Innerspace (1987) opposite Danny Glover’s role in Lethal Weapon. Though this time out Glover gets to be more of a badass, bringing a little of Predator 2 (1990) to the table. I think we’ve all seen “this movie” a dozen times, so what is going to make the film standout are the leads and the direction.
For her part, Nadia Tass is a really economic director. She knows when to leave scenes so there aren’t awkward beats between gags and to avoid too much plot since plot is so often the enemy of these kinds of comedies. Tass is also a very tasteful director which has enabled the film to age rather well.
What really makes Pure Luck work as well as it does is Danny Glover. Glover is so underrated it’s criminal. This isn’t To Sleep With Anger (1990), but Glover still crams as much humanity, warmth and humor as is possible into each and everyone of his scenes. Danny Glover is like James Stewart where once he is cast, he makes that character an “everyman”; totally likable, relatable, and familiar.