The characters in the play are one-dimensional, perhaps tinged too much by a reverence and respect for the Irish journalist who broke the Abner Louima story and uncovered police corruption in NYC. By the end of the play, there’s no sense of McAlary’s personality and drive; instead, the audience gets a summary of the events in his life and some of the people with whom he interacted. As a result, you don’t care about him or any of the others in the story. Certainly not his wife, portrayed by a very bland and reserved Maura Tierney. She’s annoyingly calm and placid, showing little to no emotion, even when her husband has been hurt and later is dying.
There’s no sense of tension, even when McAlary is attacked for printing a story that later turns out to be untrue. When he feuds with his hero, columnist Jimmy Breslin, there’s no rancor and even when a colleague criticizes him, it’s apologetically. Perhaps Ephron’s own sentiment about journalists, in general, and McAlary, in specific, got in the way.
Lucky Guy is a play about a male journalist who died of cancer written by a female journalist who died from cancer. Despite its flaws, it’s worth seeing because it’s played by Tom Hanks, Nice Guy.