Lucky Doug is the rags-to-riches story of a good-natured young man, Doug Elinski (Doug Heinz), trying to make his way in life. Doug works as a door-to-door salesman hawking a cat-food drone delivery system. He works for The Boss (Yamina Khouane), out of a cramped, ramshackle office. Her idea of business strategy is to have motivational themes for days of the week. She pushes Doug to increase his sales volumes by asking him to participate in Mustache Mondays and Toupee Tuesdays. The lack of realistic prospects for success in cat food sales leaves Doug demoralized.
But, as he’s struggling to find a way to advance his career, Doug discovers that his girlfriend, Sophie (Phoebe Raileanu), is pregnant. Quickly they arrange a wedding. So, even though Doug’s career is bottomed out, his personal life is all aces, as Sophie is the love of his life. Their reception is at the Alamo in San Antonio, so they vow to always Remember the Alamo, no matter how hard things become. At the wedding, Doug is approached by Tyler (Hunter Duncan), who expresses concern that he’ll be trying to raise a family with his poor finances. Tyler is an investor and always looking for an angle.
Doug, encouraged by his discussion with Tyler, decides to leave the grind of sales and strike out to get rich on his own. He quits his job (and must return the toupee). On his way out of the parking lot, he hits LazerPete Dimebags (Zach Desutter) with his car. LazerPete was a wealthy entrepreneur who gave it all up to walk the Earth. Doug’s guilt for running him over leads him to bring the man home and nurse him back to health. In return, LazerPete offers to help Doug with his business plan. The two of them concoct a cat food recipe and decide to launch “Kinky’s Cat Food” with weirdly sexual branding. With Tyler’s business acumen, they all rocket to wild success and wealth, and then things get weird.
“…concoct a cat food recipe and…they all rocket to wild success…”
Early on in Lucky Doug, The Boss references Economics 101, foreshadowing Doug’s experience in business. He learns some harsh lessons in basic economics and the Darwinian brutality of capitalism. Intellectually, Doug lands somewhere between Forrest Gump and Navin Johnson. He’s unsophisticated, but his saving grace lies in his resilient good humor and unwavering affection for Sophie. Through it all, Doug never loses sight of his purpose, which is to provide for his family.
Austin-based Eric Alan Rousseau directs but this is clearly a team collaboration. The script was written by Heinz, Raileanu, and Nathanial Hendricks, and they pulled together performers from a well-known Austin improv group. As a result, the film is infused with a sense of absurd fun, and the actors seem to be having a great time.
Given the budget, while the production values come across as raw and amateurish, Lucky Doug still works beautifully. Rousseau and company deliver an entertaining look at how an average cat-food salesman can make good and the often ridiculous pitfalls that may threaten his success.