Sam, the plucky protagonist of the affable family film “Luck,” has had a lifetime’s supply of bad breaks. She has spent her childhood in foster care, and when the film begins, she has reached adulthood without ever being adopted. Flat tires and falling shelves don’t phase her anymore. It’s only when younger children, like her friend Hazel, were passed over for adoption from foster care that the unfairness of fortune gets Sam down. Hazel wants a lucky penny to charm her first meeting with a family, and Sam is determined to help her.
Sam (voiced by Eva Noblezada) stumbles upon a shiny penny after locking eyes with a black cat, but she loses the penny before she can give it to Hazel. She rants in frustration to the cat that has lingered at the very spot where she found the penny. To her surprise, the cat voices its own dismay.
Sam chases the talking cat, named Bob (voiced by Simon Pegg), down a portal to another world: the magical Land of Luck. Here, good luck is manufactured and carefully distributed into the human world by teams of leprechauns, unicorns and dragons. To find new pennies, Sam and Bob must traverse this factory of fortune together.
It’s an engaging concept for a film, and the original screenplay by Kiel Murray shuffles familiar tropes for luck into a novel setting. The director Peggy Holmes keeps the film’s three-dimensional animation bright and full of impeccably rendered detail. Hair falls photorealistically out of place, toast looks craggy enough to hold its jam. But the images often fall into visual cliché — there’s an overabundance of lucky greens, and character design often favors cutesy details, like pink scales to soften up a dragon. “Luck” offers fresh ideas; its only misfortune is to present its gifts in recycled wrapping.
Rated G. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. Watch on Apple TV+.