Review: Just My Luck C

A Film Review By Stefan Vlahov

Lindsay Lohan’s recent image-change from a extremely hot and always similing redhead (which she almost retains here) to a not so hot, very depressed, too thin, brunette has really made her an unlikeable person in my eyes. I’m still rooting for her to go back to the fun to watch personality that made it easier for me to sit through films like Mean Girls and Herbie: Fully Loaded. I still remember how much I liked her (in a non-sexual way of course) in Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. In that film her acting is admirable, because she was never annoying (a lot of child-actors are *cough* Olsen Twins *cough*) and also she had a rare knack for conveying emotion. I was equally impressed by her next performance in the made-for-TV Disney movie Life-Size which also called for a lot of emotional scenes considering the subject matter. It was Lohan who made the film more than just a film about a foolish childhood fantasy (a Barbie turns into a life-sized person) and I couldn’t wait for her next projects. Well, up until this film they have all been at the very least enjoyable, except for Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen which was a good idea gone to waste, and the fact that this film comes at a time that her image is not likeable just adds insult to injury.

The film starts by showcasing the lives of two very different people; complete opposites in fact. One is Ashley Albright (Lohan), who is living the best life imaginable, because she is the luckiest person imaginable. There is always a cab to pick her up when she needs on, it seems like it never rains when she’s outside (one of the more unrealistic aspects of the film; I mean, luck isn’t magic), she never wakes up with a bad hair day, etc. Then there is Jake (Chris Pine) who always gets sprayed by water when cars go by, always loses money, and always sits on wet paint. As we all know of course – opposites attract (that might explain my inability to get with a girl who also likes movies) and they hit it off at a masquerade ball. Amidst all the dancing and flirting, they kiss. That kiss is so powerful and so good that it changes their lives forever. Well, actually no. The kiss simply switches their lives with Jake becoming the lucky one and Ashley getting the short end of the deal. Now Jake is escalating through society in a record pace, to his surprise of course. Ashley, on the other hand, has to endure for the first time in her life, what it is to be an unlucky person. She even goes as far as telling a fortune-teller. The fortune-teller tells her that she must find Jake so they can kiss again and switch back.

What’s frustrating is that that’s all that is. The script by I. Marlene King and Amy Harris has no deeper meanings. The script has made what happens to each one black and white. When a person is unlucky he or she are unlucky to the point of it being rediculous and vice-versa. There isn’t even an attempt to equate being unlucky to real life and that shows how scared the filmmakers are of actually challenging themselves with a layered plot. All director Donald Petrie has to do is film Ashley/Jake in random situations where their luck or lack of it, creates slapstick comedy that gets tiring after a while.

Also, some of the time the so-called ‘unlucky’ moments are not caused by fate, but by the character’s stupididty. Why would you put so much detergent into the washing machine? Why would you take your contact out of the litter box and put it back in your eye without washing it first? WHY Ashley? Is it because of the dumb script, whih guides you like the hand of fate that you go up and down the miserable character-arch you do? Yes I think it is!

Lohan’s job here is easy, because most of the scenes here are very director-controlled scenes. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it seems like an actor’s involvement in a scene that involves a character falling and getting a full face of mud on her face. It seems like a cliche role that an actress of Lohan’s caliber should be able to cruise through. Yet, she doesn’t. I mean she does. It’s just that when an actor is cruising through a role it seems very much like what it sounds like. Lohan doesn’t go that extra mile like she did in Mean Girls, finds it good enough to just read her lines. Chrs Pine comes-off the better actor here and I don’t care what you say, he is not a better actor than Lohan. But he does show her up in a lively performance that unlike Lohan’s is also likeable. Everyone else in the cast is not involved enough to be worth mentioning.

On the technical side the film is just blah. While Academy Award winning (for Dances with Wolves) cinematographer Dean Selmer tries to make some beautiful shots in the masquerade ball, and doesn’t resort to slow-motion cliches during falls, he also seems to be strangled by the script’s shallowness. Everyone else doesn’t deserve mentioning for any positiv contribution to the film. But there were plenty of negatives to talk about like director Donald Petrie and editor Debra Neil-Fisher for making this film even harder to sit through because of the MTV-style editing. Someone should’ve told them that this is not Without a Paddle, but it’s actually a romantic comedy that requires some focus and character development beyond the endless sit-com-like scenes.

This film is watchable, though, if only because it remains in the ‘fluff’ category. In fact, the fact that it is harmless fluff, is the only thing keeping this from being a complete failure. Still, Lohan fans will be disappointed, as willl people looking for laughs. This is all I can call this film – a disappointment. Maybe not one of collossal proportions, but definitely one that makes average comed fare like The Last Holiday look like a work of an artistic genius.

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