Lindsay Lohan is no stranger to role reversal movies. In 1998's "The Parent Trap," she switched places with her long lost twin (also played by Lohan) after meeting her at summer camp. In 2003's "Freaky Friday
," she switched bodies with onscreen mother Jamie Lee Curtis after breaking open fortune cookies at a Chinese restaurant. Those picturesboth Disney remakeswere delightful family comedies that had real heart and valuable morals to be learned. Lohan continues the trend with "Just My Luck," this time swapping good karma for bad, but the luck of the title unfortunately is nowhere to be found.
Ashley Albright (Lindsay Lohan) has got the world at her fingertips. Labeled "the luckiest girl in the world" by friends Maggie (Samaire Armstrong) and Dana (Bree Turner), she has a spacious Manhattan apartment, a job at a PR firm she is rapidly excelling at, and any number of hot guys falling right in her path. Jake Hardin (Chris Pine) is her exact opposite, a klutzy bowling alley janitor struggling to promote a talented undiscovered Brit band called McFly while meeting the worst constant luck imaginable.
When strangers Ashley and Jake share a fateful meet-cute at a masquerade ball she is hosting and kiss on the dance floor, their luck instantly and inextricably reverses. Now, as Jake finds huge success and, as their manager, grabs McFly a record deal, Ashley's life goes straight down the toilet. She is arrested on a technicality, loses her job, becomes homeless after her apartment floods, and even electrocutes herself. Linking her change of luck to the kiss that occurred after her run-in with a fortuneteller, Ashley sets out to find Jake and hopefully reverse the spell. The only problem is, she has no idea who Jake is.
Directed by Donald Petrie (2003's "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
"), "Just My Luck" is a romantic comedy neither romantic nor particularly funny. The failure at humor is especially surprising coming from screenwriters I. Marlene King (1995's "Now and Then") and Amy B. Harris, the latter of whom wrote HBO's brilliantly hilarious, sadly overlooked series "The Comeback." While Lindsay Lohan proves to not be a slacker when it comes to physical comedy, the jokes are largely too lame and predictable to gain much mileage. As for the love story between Ashley and Jake, they spend most of the movie apart and the rest of the time never emotionally connecting as is intended. This leaves whatever suspense there might have been in these two people getting together null and void.
The performances by Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine (2004's "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
") aren't much help in making Ashley and Jake accessible protagonists worth rooting for. Lohan is solid at the aforementioned pratfalls, but the spark she has shown in past films like "Freaky Friday
" and 2004's "Mean Girls
" has noticeably dimmed here. Her Ashley comes off as selfish and vain in the ways she goes about trying to regain her lucky streak, lacking any regard for the people she uses and hurts along the way. As for Pine, he is one of those bland dime-a-dozen twentysomething actors who blends together with a lot of other young hunks in his age group. Collectively, Lohan and Pine share the romantic chemistry and sizzle of wet driftwood. All other performances, from Samaire Armstrong (2006's "Stay Alive
") and Bree Turner (2002's "Sorority Boys
") as Ashley's obligatory one-note friends, to the undervalued Missi Pyle (2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
") as Ashley's boss Peggy, are merely adequate.
"Just My Luck" is a strictly generic piece of dumbed-down fluff. A wiser film on the same subject might have lead to Ashley experiencing an epiphany about who she has become as a person and realizing that her fate has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with how she lives her life. Director Donald Petrie forgoes even a hint of this, happy to keep the storyline rooted in a transparent fantasyland where Ashley and Jake really are the victims of some sort of freaky mysticism that is never divulged or developed. As a motion pictureeven one that is supposed to be light and breezy"Just My Luck" is anything but lucky. In fact, one could say it's downright cursed.