Just My Luck (2006) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language
Running Time: 103 min.
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Faizon Love, Missi Pyle, Samaire Armstrong, Bree Turner, Makenzie Vega, Carlos Ponce, McFly, Stephen Tobolowsky (cameo)
Director: Donald Petrie
Screenplay: I. Marlene King, Amy Harris
Review published May 28, 2006
Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen) stars as Ashley Albright, a young public relations exec that has nothing but good luck in everything she does. Chris Pine (The Princess Diaries 2, Confession) plays Jake Hardin, a hapless band promoter that can't seem to do anything without the worst possible calamity befalling him. Faizon Love (Torque, Elf) is the record company owner that Ashley is handling, and that Jake so desperately wants to strike a deal with for his band to see national exposure. One night, at a masquerade ball, Ashley and Jake have a dance and a kiss, only to find that their luck has transferred. Now Ashley's life begins to fall apart as Jake's goes on the upswing, but as fate would have it, the two are destined to meet again.
Although this is the first real adult role for actress Lindsay Lohan, Just My Luck proves about as childish in its concepts as anything she's done before. Perhaps in a family film, such an inane premise might actually fly, such as Lohan's remakes of The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday, but in the non-magical, non-Disney environment of the "real world", this kind of fare doesn't really hold the weight of constant scrutiny.
The most basic problem among many to Just My Luck is that we're just supposed to just go with the flow that there is someone on this Earth that has nothing but good luck, while someone else out there has nothing but bad. We aren't shown any rhyme or reason why, and we don't really understand the parameters of such a phenomenon either. Throughout the film, trying to figure out how the luck system works constitutes the bulk of the thought process, to the point where it becomes a distraction to the overall enjoyment of the film.
For instance, how much luck is good luck -- or bad? When Lohan's character scratches a Lotto ticket, why doesn't she win the grand prize every time, instead of just a smaller prize? When Pine's character trips over something, why isn't he so unlucky that he gets permanently injured? Why can't they pass this luck onto any others but each other, unless they work in concert? Are there any other people out there for which they might be able to transfer their luck to or from?
Granted, the answers to these questions aren't really that important, but the fact that we are dumped in the middle of this premise with no explanation makes asking them unavoidable. It also doesn't help that there really isn't much to the film other than the premise. At least in a farfetched fantasy like Freaky Friday, the comic situations and story proceed forward at a fast enough pace that we don't really have time to ponder the inconsistencies and logic loopholes, as we are entertained by some new wrinkle or humorous event. Just My Luck gives us almost nothing to distract us from the enigmatic gimmick, constantly reminding us of its permutations in every single scene, to the point where the dimensions of it are all we have to be engaged with.
People talk about luck as if it is a physical entity that guides us, and it is even something that one can run out of. Just My Luck runs out of it right about the time that the premise in question becomes too tedious to deal with, or too confusing to figure out, and unfortunately for most in the viewing audience, that point occurs well before the halfway point of the film. The romance and chemistry between Lohan and Pine is nonexistent, and the comedy never really encroaches into a realm that anyone might consider anything more than "cute".
Without the necessary element of whimsy and the semblance of a world with infinite possibilities, all we're left to admire is the attractive cast and nothing more. If swooning over Lohan or Pine is enough to keep you entertained, then this is the kind of movie where the vacuous qualities won't matter much to you. For non-admirers of Lohan, Just My Luck shows that, given the juvenile nature of her script choices as an adult (Herbie: Fully Loaded anyone?) she may have grown out, but she still hasn't quite grown up.
©2006 Vince Leo