I’m ashamed to say Just My Luck hits this sweet spot I didn’t know I had. It’s a yearning for vintage Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine in a horribly clichéd romantic comedy. The movie’s not good – in fact, it’s quite bad, but it’s so inoffensively simple and good-natured that I can’t even feel like watching it was a waste of time. Whatever dimension the limp script is given comes from its two stars, both of who go on a major charm offensive to help the film overcome its substantial deficits.
The story turns out to be as unoriginal as the title. Lohan plays Ashley, an events planner with the best damn luck ever. Everything goes her way, including hot guys and Sarah Jessica Parker’s dry cleaning. Jake (Pine), on the other hand, gets a shit deal no matter where he goes, in that his hands get caked with dog feces and he has toilet duty at the bowling alley. A stolen kiss at a masquerade party results in a transfer of luck, though thankfully no disease. Suddenly Jake is riding high as the manager to up and coming British band McFly (actual McFly, who shouldn’t quit their day job) while Ashley finds out how the other half lives and spends a few nights in jail.
There are exactly zero moments of unpredictability in this movie. The romantic comedy clichés come from the same tattered manual that everyone rips off of and are executed with stunning banality. The strangers happen to cross paths after their initial meeting, they splash around in bubbles when the washing machine overloads, and one stops the other from running away at the train station.
And yet, for such a low stakes film, I was surprised by how much personality comes through, especially from Lohan, who is underserved by the script. Forget the tabloid Lindsay, she really has charisma that when used to positive effect can win an audience over. Though Ashley is supposed to be selfish with her luck, a fault that gives her pause for reflection later on, Lohan doesn’t make her into the harpy uptown girl that usually fronts these stories. Pine has less of a presence, in part because he’s more believable as the captain of a fake spacecraft than as a band manager, but the kid tries and earnestness translates. When every romance has to meet its quota of assholes, it’s refreshing to see love and nice people all around. It’s fantasy, after all.
Prod: Arnon Milchan, Arnold Rifkin, Donald Petrie
Dir: Donald Petrie
Writer: I. Marlene King, Amy B. Harris, Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Samaire Armstrong, Bree Turner, Faizon Love, McFly, Missi Pyle, Makenzie Vega, Carlos Ponce, Tovah Feldshuh, Chris Carmack
Time: 108 min
Country: United States